New York

Rebecca Howland

ABC No Rio

Rebecca Howland’s Brainwash, a big, ugly, confused, and confusing Rube Goldberg of a sculpture, is a provocative paradigm for a moral, municipally scaled artwork. Howland is attempting a complex ecological and political narrative using a traditional municipal ornament, the public fountain; her fountain, however, is no panacea for parched urban wayfarers. Too opinionated to relax into being an oasis, Brainwash delineates and challenges the symbiotic relationship of energy plunder and, pun intended, power.

Howland’s fountain begins and ends with incredible resistance, almost as if its very shape were a struggle against being born and dying. Nowhere is there a natural, easy merger of forms; rather, the parts are constantly fighting against the whole. It would be convenient to see the antagonism of the parts as mirroring the pillage being documented, and to a degree this is an accurate view.

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