Critics’ Picks

Robert Indiana, LOVE, 1966–98.

Robert Indiana, LOVE, 1966–98.

New York

Barry Flanagan, Robert Indiana, Frank Stella, et al.

Kasmin | 293 Tenth Avenue
293 Tenth Avenue
July 15–August 13, 2004

The utter lack of a theme makes this show something of a relief in a field strewn with exhibitions devoted to everything from paradise to suicide. The only unifying concept seems to be that most of the works are sculptures (the notable exception being Morris Louis’s solemn vertical canvas, which adds some color to a back gallery otherwise dominated by bronze). The three best works are in the first two rooms: a recent Frank Stella with coiling aluminum and steel sprockets tumbling off the wall; an eight-foot rusted-steel version of Robert Indiana’s Love 1966–98; and Nancy Rubins’s Untitled (Maquette for San Diego), 1999, a small, dynamic arc made of pasted-together model-boat fragments. The show does justice to the latter two works in particular. Rubins’s proposal for the full-scale sculpture in San Diego has been met with the kind of controversy that too often dogs public art projects, but the model gives a sense of the impact that the fully realized work might have. And Indiana’s iconic LOVE is returned to its monumental, quasi-minimalist glory after being co-opted by everyone from poster, keychain, and candle makers to the United States Postal Service, who reportedly paid the artist a thousand dollars for what became one of their most popular stamps—an “art multiple” running into the hundreds of millions.