New York

Varusan Boghosian

Stable Gallery

At the Stable Gallery, Varusan Boghosian shows eighteen constructions belonging to the decorative-portentous school. Each piece contains a doll or doll like head of cast metal in association with a number of found objects which are, in most cases, symmetrically disposed around it. Some of the pieces are wall-mounted boxes with glass fronts. The titles are operatically metaphysical—The Key to the Kingdom, Eurydice, The Measure of Man, The Grand Design, Shadow and Substance, Night Game, Reign of Death, and so on.

The artist’s obvious intention is that having seen the objects and read the titles, we will settle into a darkish reverie wherein homely and discarded objects cause us to reflect, through a pang of recognizing an unexpected beauty in the husks of by gone human activity, on the Pathos of Existence and the Poetry of Darkness. Gloria is always sic on Mundi.

Well, what really happens is that one ends up, or rather cannot get past, Mr. Boghosian’s all-fired-tastefulness. We do not ponder cosmic significance, but wonder where in the world he got such marvelous old children’s alphabet blocks, those expressively decayed doll bodies, so many sympathetically antiqued croquet balls, such gorgeous junk jewelry, and to be sure, the indispensable weathered wood, probably filched from an old barn in Wyeth country. In his pieces, the artist has arranged these objects so that they tout their own nostalgia as strongly as possible, but he has neglected to make certain that they are essential parts of some esthetic metaphor at the same time. Therefore, one quits the show with admiring recollections of Mr. Boghosian’s exquisite collection, and quite rightly not giving a hoot about his uncompetitive creative abilities.

Dennis Adrian