Gary Nickard

Burchfield Penney Art Center

Gary Nickard successfully courts two seemingly opposed mistresses in his exhibition entitled “Science as Spectacle.” Indeed, the show’s pristine sterility seems attuned to both the temper of the art market and the imperatives of the laboratory. Not a lab rat is out of place, including the audience.

Some of the more delicate or dangerous apparatuses in the exhibition are labeled with the words “Please do not touch,” a warning that no one is likely to ignore. Who would dare tamper with these careful displays of tubing, circuitry, and filaments? Ripped out of context, the equipment looks more formidable than it is; the only real danger is that of mild electrical shock. Function is very much a mystery here; even though some of the work is activated by the viewer’s foot pedal, the resulting sparks and buzzes amount to little more than a minor and anticlimactic sound and light show. Their

to keep reading

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

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

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

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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