New York

Martin Chirino

Grace Borgenicht Gallery

If Greenleaf suggests the reasons why Caro’s art tends to read as “powerful but compromised” in the context of the present situation, Martin Chirino draws attention to the problems involved in maintaining David Smith’s view of sculpture. Or, rather, not to a manipulation of materials and imagery which is related to his—and gains respectability, generic identity, from that—but now seems to be historically inappropriate. Greenleaf’s sculpture suggests an uncertainty, typical of Caro, about whether the work belongs inside or out of doors. Chirino, like Smith, demands an outdoor site for his work. But this isn’t, as it is in Smith’s work, a demand contingent on the scale of the art and its insistent materiality. Smith’s work involves a kind of massiveness that seems cramped in an enclosed space, Chirino’s an insistent virility that seems intolerable indoors but which might—like the ebullience of a football player—be easier to take outside. Landscape Mediterranea I, 1973—which is nine inches high—points to the corruption that can overcome a technique after two decades. Made out of forged steel, its uncanny resemblance to a pair of bull’s horns reinforces the air of machismo suggested—now—by that method of fabrication. Unresponsive to the concerns of contemporary sculpture, it reminds one of nothing so much as being punched in the chest by a very small man while in an uncomfortably restricted space.

Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe