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Jon Kessler
Stepping on Baghdad
Mixed media, aluminum, CCD camera, video monitors
Image by Isabelle Woodley
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by Jerry Saltz

Whether you call it the New Cacophony or the Old Cacophony, Agglomerationism, Disorientationism, the Anti Dia or just a raging bile duct, the practice of mounting sprawling, often infinitely organized, jam-packed carnivalesque installations is making more and more galleries and museums feel like department stores, junkyards, and disaster films. It is an architecture of no architecture, a gesamtkunstwerk or "total artwork," whose roots are in opera, Dada, the Merzbau and the madhouse. Whatever the subject -- be it bodily fluids, pop culture, or politics -- terms that describe this sculptural strategy include grandiose and testosterone-driven.