Critics’ Picks

“Sculpture.” Installation view.

“Sculpture.” Installation view.

New York


Matthew Marks Gallery
523 West 24th Street, 522 West 22nd Street, and 526 West 22nd Street
September 20–November 1, 2003

This group show could be seen as a single, quirky, dreamlike tableau—if not exactly vivant, then certainly lively. Robert Gober’s prison window, set into the wall and backed by an illusionistic sunset-saturated sky, seems to watch protectively over a trio of works—Katharina Fritsch’s eerie, robed monk, Ugo Rondinone’s shimmery cast-fiberglass olive tree, and Gober’s own oversize stick of butter—while Tony Smith’s modular cast-bronze Smug, 1973, appears to encroach menacingly upon them. Another, less fanciful reading of the show might trace relationships between Minimal and post-Minimal sculpture and contemporary three-dimensional work: Darren Almond’s Concorde, 2003, for example, is a wall-mounted enamel box that alternately displays the words NEW YORK and LONDON, switching every two hours and fifty-eight minutes in reference to the length of the fabled transatlantic flight. Concorde literalizes the issue of temporality so crucial to Minimalist sculpture, just as its form echoes the bronze-and-Plexiglas Donald Judd across the room. Juxtapositions like this unexpectedly highlight a restrained organicism in sculpture by an older generation of artists—Smith, Judd, Ellsworth Kelly—while playing up the materiality of newer, more referential works.