Critics’ Picks

Installation view, 2005.

Installation view, 2005.

New York

Mark Dion

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
521 West 21st Street
November 19, 2005–January 14, 2006

Mark Dion’s latest excursion into the labyrinth of museology takes the form of a modest gray-shingled structure with a homey porch, crammed to the rafters with all manner of junk: crumbling books, rusted gardening tools, statuettes, toys, and so on. The Curiosity Shop, 2005, recalls both a rural museum devoted to the idiosyncratic quirks of its curator and some earlier forms of organized collecting, namely the cabinet of curiosities and the wunderkammer. For Dion, whose specialty is applying Foucauldian concepts of archeology in examining the practices of collecting and exhibiting, the nature of the objects arranged in this cozy, dimly lit space—visible only through a few windows—is less important than their arrangement. Here, primitive taxonomy reigns; and yet the point seems to be that it’s not so far off from taking a stroll through the Met, the Louvre, or any other survey museum.