Critics’ Picks

453 West 17 Street, 2001.

New York

Francis Cape

Murray Guy
453 West 17th Street
September 8–October 27

Those overly familiar with the generic gallery interior will find Francis Cape’s transformation of Murray Guy’s space refreshing. Cloaking the entire back wall is 453 West 17th Street (all works 2001). A lovingly crafted surface of painted wood apparently imported from an English country house, it was actually built by the artist over an intense ten-day period. A trained carpenter, Cape marshals every trick of the trade in an effort to disturb our sense of place by conjuring up hermetic formal simulation. Cape is fond of suggesting functionality only to snatch it away, but he also invests the cool rhythm of classical proportion with a surprising emotional pull. 453 West 17th Street, and its smaller companion piece Cabinet 44, eloquently combine displacement with familiarity, flipping the coin again and again until we find ourselves pleasantly lost.