Installation view of "Gauguin: Metamorphoses" at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (March 8–June 8, 2014). Photo by Jonathan Muzikar. © 2014 The Museum of Modern Art

An assignment I give my students at Pratt Institute is to make a list of ten artists whose work they dislike or don’t understand. The lesson is intended to generate discussions about artistic merit, the quiddities of taste, and (as one young wag put it) “walking a mile in Jeff Koons’s shoes.” Koons has topped these lists for some time, as have others of neo-Duchampian ilk. The original Duchampian, Marcel, pops up regularly, as do sundry Minimalists and a number of abstractionists—usually under the...

 

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