Siah Armajani

Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati

Newstand [sic], even more than Siah Armajani’s other works, moves beyond the traditional limits of sculpture and carves out a place for itself somewhere between architecture and stage design. It looks like a stage set or a small, innocuous building that is in use—not merely usable, like his recent “Meeting Garden” and “Reading Garden” in Roanoke, Virginia, Omaha, Nebraska and Artpark in New York. Museum-shop wares are sold from the Newstand’s racks, and periodicals are strewn across its tables to entice visitors to sit down on the benches and read. “Use” could have blurred the distinction between architecture and sculpture but instead it was clarified; the incongruities were noticeable, disconcerting, and obviously intentional. The roofless, doorless, two-walled “rooms” within rooms, with their high, rigid. Shaker-like benches, made the visitor feel self-conscious and intensively aware of

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