New York

Beverly Pepper

André Emmerich Gallery

Another dig due south of Bryan Hunt’s artificts: Beverly Pepper’s new work. This is an exhibition that could appropriately be called “Totem and Taboo.” Tabletop sculptures carefully arranged like cemetery gravestones. Nonrepresentational arrangements of welded steel, this makes our investigation team wonder, does this society have a ban against representation?

Beverly Pepper’s small-scale work deserves some award for sincerity in installation: the rusted-down sculptures are on tabletops of some roughhewn wood—probably shiplap. Thank God I’m not an anthropologist and I operate under art appreciation’s look-but-don’t-touch rule: I would certainly run the risk of tetanus and splinters.

A lot’s going on here, all of it so carefully premeditated that I think I’m going to get offended. But instead I’m intrigued. At first I consider the possibility that Pepper is allowing some random effects in

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