• Tony Feher, Untitled, 2009, emergency thermal blanket, 19 x 17 x 12".

    Tony Feher

    Des Moines Art Center
    4700 Grand Avenue
    May 11–September 2, 2012

    Curated by Claudia Schmuckli

    Tony Feher’s work can certainly be beautiful, but words such as poetic—often used to describe his art—tend to bowdlerize its achievements. The frisson of Feher’s project of imparting aura to mass-produced materials (water bottles, pennies, marbles, plastic bags, polystyrene insulation) derives from the way in which his sculptural arrangements admit to their own precarity: What if the viewer is unwilling or unable to recognize the aesthetic dimension of, for example, Two Unfinished Liters of Diet Coke, Side by Side, on a Styrofoam Box, 1996? This twenty-year survey, organized by Houston’s Blaffer Art Museum, will present fifty-one such works and, in so doing, illuminate the delicate balancing act that subtends Feher’s exhortation to find artistic surplus value everywhere, hidden in plain view.