new-york

Katharina Fritsch

Matthew Marks Gallery

That there is something patently ugly about much—if not all—of Katharina Fritsch’s work is too little remarked upon. Perhaps this has to do with the way it is ugly: not at all in the conventional sense of wandering afield from some aesthetic “ideal,” or even in presenting for abject delectation the long-hidden, seamy underbelly of something we thought we knew. Indeed, Fritsch’s objects court another kind of ugliness; they take their forms as perfect, smoothly contoured icons that rebuff the eye through a kind of affectlessness or, perhaps better said, through a kind of aloofness.

This particular schism between surface and depth is usually attributed only to people. (Of someone beautiful but mean or indifferent, we say shruggingly that “they’re ugly on the inside.”) But such a divide seems, too, to inform much of Fritsch’s oeuvre, which over the past three decades has willfully confused

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