new-york

Tom Butter

Curt Marcus Gallery

In his recent show, Tom Butter presented eight works described as kinetic sculptures. But their kinesis was amusingly elusive. Only one actually seemed to earn the name: Night Train (all works 1997), a large steel wheel suspended by a perpendicular column sheathed in fiberglass, revolved just perceptibly.

A light touch, however, set the piece into smooth, sure rotation, and it turned out that all but two pieces, Two States and Dive, could be activated by a bit of manipulation (though some had such a limited range that they seemed barely to jiggle). Observatory, for instance, consists of a rounded, white fiberglass cylinder balanced like a telescope atop the point of a steel rod sheathed in an envelope of two pink rhomboidal forms so that it can turn slowly and gracefully on its axis, able to swing up, down, and sideways.

The visual austerity of Butter’s sculpture coexists with a strong

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