• Jay DeFeo, untitled, 1987, Xerox, 11 × 73⁄8". From “Mechanisms.”

    Jay DeFeo, untitled, 1987, Xerox, 11 × 73⁄8". From “Mechanisms.”


    CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art
    1111 8th Street
    October 12, 2017–February 24, 2018

    Curated by Anthony Huberman

    “Mechanisms” situates itself in a tradition of machinic shows, most famously Pontus Hultén’s 1968–69 encyclopedic presentation “The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age.” But where Hultén filled MoMA's galleries with hardware—ranging from a race car to Robert Rauschenberg’s metal assemblage Oracle, 1962–65—and emphasized the items’ autonomy as objects, the roughly one hundred sculptures, photographs, videos, paintings, and site-specific installations Huberman has selected for “Mechanisms,” by artists including Aaron Flint Jamison and Park McArthur, demonstrate how all sorts of things, from animal traps to data-analysis software, structure their environments. For Huberman, mechanisms still take command, but indirectly. While Hultén’s catalogue had a tin-and-steel cover fabricated by a Swedish beer-can manufacturer, one can’t help but wonder whether the “Mechanisms” monograph, which features an essay by Huberman, will reach a wider audience on paper or somewhere up in the cloud. Travels to the Secession, Vienna, summer 2018.