Critics’ Picks

Vivienne Griffin, Untitled, 2009, water bottles, found table, car spray paint, metal rings, key rings, light fixture, dimensions variable. Installation view.

New York


178 Norfolk Street
May 9–July 18

For Bureau’s inaugural group show, proprietor Gabrielle Giattino carefully selected six works by five artists that interrogate the space between liquid and solid, as mediated by the banal object. Intent on repurposing the obsolete, Barb Choit solicits, wraps, and catalogues broken cups and ashtrays as if they were rare archaeological specimens, photographing the saran-wrapped shards atop black velvet. The tenderness and attention with which Choit treats her material contrasts with Daniel Lefcourt’s Untitled, 2005, a six-by-eight-foot painting of a textured black rock resting imposingly on raw linen. Echoing that black surface is Vivienne Griffin’s Untitled, 2009, wherein a large water bottle and a small one nestle snugly on the glossy seat of an elegant stool, one leg of which is ensconced in a series of metal rings. The play of translucent enclosures subtly transforms this mundane bric-a-brac into an enigmatic sculpture.

The show’s centerpiece is Alex Hubbard’s whimsical video Announcement, 2007, in which the artist alternately places spaghetti, a whole fish, lemons, and garnishes—along with lights, colored gels, and candles—on the surface of a Xerox machine. The mechanical light and whir of the machine pace the piece, as do the photocopies of the objects, which Hubbard then in turn recopies, escalating the viewing experience into a playful feedback loop. Hubbard’s inclusion of fake, colorful flowers and a magician’s top hat on the copy plate serves as a wink at the audience. A more understated visual pun, Viktor Kopp’s deceptive monochrome quaintly renders four squares of chocolate, whose grid is suggestive of a tiny window. Small, quiet, and ambiguous, the painting requires a careful second look—much like the gallery space and the show itself.