Petah Coyne

Brooklyn Museum / Jack Shainman Gallery

In these two concurrent exhibitions, Petah Coyne’s powerful, instinctual work coalesces into a potent whole. The materials and formal syntax used for the large sculptures are similar, but Coyne uncovers rich nuances within each object’s precise parameters. Her installation at the Brooklyn Museum of three suspended hulks (all works, 1989) was momentarily startling and visually stunning. Within the vastness of this beaux-arts lobby, Coyne had arranged the dangling elements to establish an assertive dialogue with a difficult public space. The works read at the same time as a planned ensemble and as independent objects.

The pieces are entirely black and constructed of steel, wire, oil, screen, black sand, and black paint. They were hung from the museum ceiling on thick, encrusted cords. The largest piece has an organic, ample shape, roughly that of a cone, but its monolithic geometry is

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the December 1989 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.