chicago

Charles Wiesen

Tough

In what seems almost a Cook’s tour of the art of the ’60s and ’70s, Charles Wiesen deploys an arsenal of familiar strategies in order both to pay honor to Minimalist efforts and to lay bare the movement’s limitations. Like a treasonous heir, Wiesen turns the esthetic dictates of his predecessors in on themselves, an implosion that results in a curious affirmation of Minimalist practice. In View, 1996, five immaculately white objects hang across a gallery wall, casting discreet shadows and setting up quiet but intense pictorial interrelationships, its terse objecthood very reminiscent of Robert Ryman’s esthetic. A second glance informs the viewer that these objects are actually five white window shades, with individual lengths adjustable by any viewer who cares to pull a cord. Barnett Newman’s zip paintings get theirs in Here 2, 1996, where a 12-foot-long white wall is intersected by a

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