New York

Phoebe Washburn

LFL Gallery

Phoebe Washburn’s undulating, room-sized sculptural installation, Nothing’s Cutie, 2004, looks at first like a colorful topographic model of a densely populated futuristic urban metropolis plunked down on a desert island: Rio meets Las Vegas meets Cancun, or maybe Kuala Lumpur. Hundreds of vertically inclined wooden planks of different lengths and dimensions, each briskly handpainted a pastel hue, have been screwed together, forming clusters (or neighborhoods) that open into little clearings of sawdust. Daintily punctuated with unsharpened pencils, packing tape, thumbtacks, and other stuff procured from office-supply stores, the installation stands on stilts and creeps up to the gallery’s removed ceiling.

Like the Minimalist sculpture to which it alludes, the work provokes a particular kind of encounter with the viewer: It is both static object and unfolding environment. Nothing’s Cutie

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