New York

Jene Highstein

112 Greene Street

Jene Highstein’s installation consists of two huge horizontal pipes, one about six feet off the ground, and the other just over eight feet. Highstein’s module is the gallery itself. The horizontal pipes address the vertical columns that support the ceiling and bifurcate the gallery; the piece acts to square the space. As information, the pipes make the gallery a metaphor—a quasi-industrial adjunct to a greater whole—like a boiler room or steam conduit. There is an irony in this: steel pipes, which perform a service function in our lives, work here to master a given space. 

Between the expectation of the show (a quick glance along the walls and floor of the gallery for sculpture that isn’t there) and the jawdrop realization that the piece is actually in the air, there is a flash of triumph over the spectator. The piece has the dramatic impact of an absolute gesture given in architectural scale. In the contained space, the pipes read almost as an interdiction against access, a drama that noises the more careful dialogue between two facing elements in space. The pipes face the gallery entrance more than they face each other; they seem more in league than in covenant.

Alan Moore