Critics’ Picks

View of “Bill Albertini: Hands Off,” 2022.

View of “Bill Albertini: Hands Off,” 2022.

New York

Bill Albertini

373 Broadway Room F10, buzzer 610
October 21–December 10, 2022

“Hands Off,” Bill Albertini’s latest show here, combines video art, stainless steel, aluminum prints, and robot-whittled wood to highlight modern technology’s generative potential with such elegance, it could make a believer out of the most stubborn Luddite.

One wall is dedicated to Albertini’s ongoing “Save As” sculpture series, which he’s been chipping away at since 2019. At the center of the arrangement sits a compact prototype designed by the artist in an Oculus Rift VR headset, which was given life via bronze-infused steel by an industrial metallurgy company. Variations on that work flank both sides of it, each iteration slightly different from its predecessor. Some of them even spawn branches that jut toward the ceiling or the floor. What might feel recursive instead has real motion; the overall impression reminds you why anyone ever thought computers might be liberating.

The rest of the gallery’s long, narrow space is devoted to pieces from Albertini’s series “Pipe Dream System,” 2018–, a circulatory network comprising discrete parts made with various types of CAD software that were pieced together via sundry production techniques—in this case, a seven-axis robot from William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. The disassembled components of a poplar-wood form appear beside it in dreamy aluminum prints, which also feature images of wildflowers. A looping video scatters light-refracting pieces of snakelike pipes that twist through steel grids on a shelf beside the screen.

The details of each individual sculpture are playful and stirring, and invite careful scrutiny in a way that sleeker, more frictionless digital art might not. That immutable human sensibility, in the end, is what makes “Hands Off” stick. Albertini can tie his hands behind his back all he wants. His touch, so to speak, comes through anyway.