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'A Secret Affair: Selections From the Fuhrman Family Collection'

The Contemporary Austin brings an exceptionally curated medley of international artists to town for a study in dualism

Reviewed by Caitlin Greenwood, Fri., May 30, 2014

<i>Frank and Jamie</i> (2002), by Maurizio Cattelan, installation view
Frank and Jamie (2002), by Maurizio Cattelan, installation view
Courtesy of Brian Armstrong

The Contemporary Austin Jones Center, 700 Congress; Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th
www.thecontemporaryaustin.org
Through Aug. 24

With "A Secret Affair," the Contemporary Austin brings an exceptionally curated medley of international artists to town for a study in dualism. Designed and executed by Executive Director Louis Grachos, the show draws from the Fuhrman family's expansive art collection. While researching it, Grachos found the common theme of pairings and "A Secret Affair" began to emerge. The name was taken from a Jim Lambie sculpture, currently on display at Laguna Gloria, that depicts a large steel keyhole. Predominantly sculptural, the exhibition jumps from the highly abstract to the visually coherent. Its interpretation of pairings covers a broad range, from the emotional ties between individuals to the duality of mind and body, and raises a vast array of questions, none more poignantly than those involving the intricacies of relationships. Seasoned art lovers and general audiences alike will find this immersive exhibition's deeply thoughtful purpose conveyed through diverse mediums and expert artists.

The show is by far the Contemporary's most high-profile exhibition to date. Works by artists such as Matthew Barney, Maurizio Cattelan, and Louise Bourgeois dot the Downtown Austin gallery space, carrying with them not only their makers' creative bravado but also the fame they attained for their prestigious works. Grachos is to be commended for working to raise the bar for the kind of visual art commissioned and presented here, and for trying to make Austin more of a center for work by artists of international renown. I hope to see his initial investments in those missions continue past his inaugural year.

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