GLANCING THROUGH AN ENTRYWAY at Carlson & Co.—unmarked, save for a Warning: Eye Protection Required sign—was like peering through a Carrollian looking glass. Inside and to the right were jumpsuited workers hovering over an iridescent plinth worthy of Stanley Kubrick. To the left loomed a plaster model of a Play-Doh pile scaled to mammoth proportions. Straight ahead was a tentacular cluster of Tyvek-and-foam-tipped steel prongs. And this was just the foreground of an immense space, a forty-thousand-square-foot fun-house reflection of the lugubrious Pepsi-Cola bottling plant that sits across the street from it in San Fernando, California. Carlson & Co. is, of course, the eminent art fabrication and engineering firm that has extended—even exploded beyond recognition—the legacy of industrial fabrication in postwar art. That Carlson is so obviously thriving suggests that, long after the aesthetics
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