In January of 1976, not long before his death, Marcel Broodthaers prepared two photographs of his recent show Décor: A Conquest by Marcel Broodthaers (ICA, London, 1975) to send his friend Alain Jouffroy. The photographs showed two views of one of the artist’s last Décors— the stage-like installation pieces he had begun creating in 1974. The result was one of the most overtly politicized pieces of his career—and one of the most fertile.
The exhibition Sunset Décor presented by Marian Goodman Gallery on view until August 25th, recalls this late work of Marcel Broodthaers and its wide range of cultural and political references to the social context of its time, including the declining genre of Western movies of the late 1960’s and the uncertain ending of the Vietnam War. Given that for Broodthaers the Décors weren’t originally ends in themselves but rather temporary stage-sets, this exhibition also allows us to see his practice as a backdrop for other artistic inquiries and political narratives that were to be reframed and played out. At a time when populations, cultures and the environment are fighting to resist conservative thinking and political assault, Sunset Décor puts into perspective the instrumentalization, now as then, of nature, the individual and the land for the production of a symbolic order in the name of freedom, civilization and democracy.