New York

Robin Rhode

Perry Rubenstein Gallery

Though much of his work depends on performance, South African artist Robin Rhode’s recent exhibition at Perry Rubenstein Gallery comprised elegant sculpture, photography, and film that functions independently of the action that gave birth to it. Spade, 2007, for example, is a small cast of a shovel in gold-plated bronze. A succinct fusion of the rarefied and the quotidian, it mutely avers that value lies in the doing as much as in what gets done. Empties, 2007, comprises a Carling beer crate filled with hand-blown dark green bottles whose fragile stems are gracefully elongated to human height and resemble flowing reeds. The contrast between the found crate and the “reproduction” bottles might also reference the gap between the political context of the artist’s boyhood (due perhaps to its black label, Carling was associated among South Africans with the struggle against apartheid) and his

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