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Michael Williams’s “Wall Dog” 2013, part of MoMA’s “The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World” exhibition. (Courtesy CANADA)

What sets so-called atemporal painting apart from painting that might be less kindly characterized as derivative or regurgitative? In her catalog essay for “The Forever Now,” a 17-artist exhibition which opens at the Museum of Modern Art on December 14, curator Laura Hoptman traces the definition of atemporality to sci-fi novelist William Gibson, for whom the term captures “a new and strange state of the world in which, courtesy of the Internet, all eras seem to exist at once.” While some might lump such a phenomena under the larger banner of postmodernism, Hoptman does not. “Unlike past periods of revivalism, such as the appropriationist eighties, this super-charged art historicism is neither critical nor ironic; it’s not even nostalgic. It is closest to a connoisseurship of boundless information, a picking and choosing of elements of the past to resolve a problem or a task at hand.”

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Scott Indrisek
Blouin ArtInfo

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