los-angeles

Lucas Samaras

Dwan Gallery

Prick­ly, pin-studded, glass-thorned wall pieces, boxes, constructions, and bags, exotic products of an occupational therapy center for algolagniacs. The grim balance between artist as self­-inflicted victim or as defender of the faith here hinges on the turn of a pin. Hostile content is formalized, however, and maleficent vision so neatly con­trolled by a tidy craftsmanship that after the first “frisson nouveau” one does Samaras the honor of simply ac­cepting an environment whose given is the dangerous omnipresence of sharp, pointed objects. The barbaric pins and needles which he inserts in most of his objects become, so to speak, re-domesticated, and one goes on to admire the inventive ways Sama­ras cajoles mood, pattern, and texture from them. Two pieces in the show which evade this process of formaliza­tion, and consequently remain the most relentlessly brutal, are Wall Piece—4 Forks

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