Critics’ Picks

Installation View, 2005 (Photo: Christopher Burke courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery, NY).

Installation View, 2005 (Photo: Christopher Burke courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery, NY).

New York

“Looking at Words”

Andrea Rosen Gallery
544 West 24th Street
October 28, 2005–January 4, 2006

With over 300 works installed, not just salon style, but with horror vacui density, “Looking at Words” defies the impulse of overstimulated Chelsea viewers to take “just a quick peek” at the show. Yet quantity does not preclude quality. Even though there are works on paper by everyone from Man Ray to Mel Bochner to Mark Lombardi, the objects are arranged according to loose formal criteria so that they complement and converse with one another rather than compete for attention (although the ones near the top get a bit lost in the crowd). Text appears in a variety of ways: the Cubist and Dadaist text-peppered collage; genealogical diagrams; childish scrawl; numbers; and even a canny little clutch of drawings done on hotel stationary. The checklist itself becomes part of the experience, as viewers move back and forth between the works and this small tome encased in ring binder, underscoring the point that art viewing, in the last century, has been as much about reading as looking.