Critics’ Picks

Library Table, 2005. Installation view.

Library Table, 2005. Installation view.

London

Goshka Macuga

Kate MacGarry
27 Old Nichol Street
March 4–April 17, 2005

This modest show collects five books, two framed tooled-leather pieces, and a customized reading desk and lamps, and takes the ambition and scope of Goshka Macuga’s previous installations down to a more tactile level. Existing artist’s monographs—on Duchamp, Picabia, Warhol, Kippenberger, and Polke—are repackaged in leather covers tooled to represent imaginatively reinterpreted works by the respective artists. The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp (After Marcel Duchamp—Selected Details After Cranach and Relâche) (all works 2005), covered in unstained sheepskin, features Adam and Eve, a play on the famous photo of the artist and Brogna Perlmutter posing as the original sinners. After Martin Kippenberger—Don’t Wake Daddy is covered in this season’s apple green leather and features a cartoonish caged parrot. Macuga’s versions are, if not exactly provocative, at least appealing—one only wishes permission to flip through the books, but sadly, the “don’t touch” sign at the gallery’s door keeps the works at arm’s length. Most interesting is the inclusion—in this collection of art historical hotshots—of architect and designer Friedrich Kiesler. The tabletop on which the books rest (After Friedrich Kiesler—Installation study for pictures and light fixtures) is a hand-tooled tableau depicting a Kiesler drawing of a room layout—not wholly unlike the table the gallery visitor is actually seeing, where books stand in for Kiesler’s pictures and salvaged desk lamps, cunningly customized, loom over the scene.