new-york

Daniel Joseph Martinez

The Project

Daniel Joseph Martinez’s installation The House America Built, 2004, is spare, quick, and tightly focused. It consists of one oversize, custom-built shack—big enough to house you or me—wedged into the gallery to look as if it had landed there by accident and suffered some damage in the process. Split apart along a seam running from roofline to foundation and no longer standing exactly true, the structure is decidedly out of order. Instead of an open door there are large cracks to peer through. Bobbing up and down and shifting this way and that to get a better view inside is rather like trying to see more than is really visible when you look through the peephole in Duchamp’s Etant donnés, 1946–66. In Martinez’s theater, the interior is entirely off-limits and there’s not a body in sight—except our own.

Completely at odds with the woodsy aesthetic of the building’s rough, unfinished insides,

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