Los Angeles

Peter Zecher

Eugenia Butler Gallery

Not so Peter Zecher’s “Objects,” friendly conglomerations of Dada, assemblage, Pop, “new materials” and funk. They are based quite openly on juxtapositions, abutments of word and image, image and material, and material and the object itself. There are nine comfortably sized objects (life-size to table-top) in the front gallery, and four more two-dimensional, picturesque (and nowhere near as good) pieces in the back. The nine in front are: 1) “fish” scripted in blue neon inside a water-filled glass sausage atop a corrugated glossy green mount; 2) a small, seven-deep arrangement of fuzzy grey “frames” holding an hourglassful of red sparkle, with “LOST IN THOUGHT” lettered, upright and upside down on the glass; 3) a teapot, surfaced like a crumb doughnut, with an ear handle inside a large glass bell jar; 4) a soft, rubbery U.S. map stretched over an oval drumhead, reading “ONLY—ART IS A THIN SKIN—ONLY” in cut-out block letters; 5) a hanged mannequin in a cheesecloth cylinder; 6) a three-dimensional “club” (as in diamonds, spades, etc.) in black crumb riding a Westermannish veneered pedestal; 7) & 8) “DAYS UPON DECEPTION” and “THIS BELL HAS NO CLAPPER,” differently materialed word-pictures; and 9) “repair” in neon over a flocked brown shoe (almost an objet trouvé, circa 1938).

I found the show at first amiable and entertaining, then unsatisfying as art (assuming something other than entertainment); the phenomena of mismatches, of the cacophony of industrialized life, are by now too familiar on every drugstore shelf to permit us to react with unexpected pleasure or pain. As poetic imagery, it is just another unsophisticated discovery of the confusion of messages in The Way We Live Now, partially hidden in the carefully tooled objecthood and slickly straight-faced “bad” design. The physicality is compromised toward the literature involved, so, as a whole, the show succeeds less than half.

Peter Plagens