Critics’ Picks

Sam Ran Over Sand or Sand Ran Over Sam, 2004. Installation view.

Sam Ran Over Sand or Sand Ran Over Sam, 2004. Installation view.


Jessica Stockholder

Rice University Art Gallery
6100 Main Street 352 Sewall Hall
September 16–October 31, 2004

The art world could use more shag. Tactile, soft, and inviting, the yellow and red, extra-deep-pile rug cutting a jagged path through Jessica Stockholder’s new installation Sam Ran Over Sand or Sand Ran Over Sam is its crowning achievement. With the velocity of a Barnett Newman zip, it extends from the building’s main entrance and penetrates the large windowed wall separating the gallery from the foyer, ushering viewers down a makeshift corridor formed by a plasterboard wall on one side and, on the other, three large white blocks made of Styrofoam floating airily on plywood boards. The wall is pierced by objects scavenged from Rice University’s campus: a group of standing lamps, a water heater, an old beat-up leatherette armchair, and a desk. But it’s the Home Depot products that get special treatment—the focal point is an extravagantly huge Maytag freezer sitting imperiously on six white Igloo coolers. “That thing is large enough to fit a whole deer,” a Houston local assured the artist as she shopped for materials. Deer hunters aside, there is also a lot for the average gallery-goer to take in here, and it mostly works. Sam runs concurrently with the artist’s retrospective at the University of Houston’s Blaffer Gallery.