new-york

“Bunnies”

David Nolan Gallery

Bunnies—unlike the “death of painting,” the “rebirth of abstraction,” or the “return to figuration”—are rarely the conceptual framework for a group show. Bunnies are thought to be cute, huggable, cuddly; even the word, which rhymes with “funny” and “sunny,” connotes something infinitely friendlier, happier, goofier than art, which almost never aspires to cuteness and only infrequently allows itself to be touched, let alone cuddled. In “Bunnies,” the apparent incompatibility between this fuzzy creature and the work of art is embodied by Dieter Roth’s Rabbit, 1975, which insinuates that even shit is a fitter subject for art than cuteness: few people would find Roth’s sculpture of a rabbit cute, precisely because it’s formed of such artistically acceptable materials as straw and the creature’s own pellets. And though it’s encased in a vitrine, prohibiting viewers from touching what they may

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