New York

Courtney Smith

Roebling Hall

The double-edged title of Courtney Smith’s recent exhibition, “Build Up,” signals that we are entering a realm of multiple functions, of things seen as both themselves and something else. Smith’s primary material is furniture—sometimes she transforms vintage pieces into something new; sometimes she builds new pieces with something besides their traditional function in mind.

The show was dominated by a room-size floor-based work, Paraparquetry, 2007, consisting of twelve hundred brick-size “furniture fragments” (per the checklist) arranged in the intricate tessellating design of a parquet floor. The mismatch of components is the work’s point—the remnants of other purposes are forced into one another’s company, violently inverting the gentle art of organized collecting. There is a certain harmony to this piece, but there is also a restlessness created by the visible details of the fragments’

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