New York

Jason Middlebrook

Sara Meltzer Gallery

“Shoulds” are dangerous, especially in art. So it’s risky to stipulate that a project concerned with human habits of exploiting and degrading flora and fauna should hit its viewers viscerally with exploitation and degradation, or that an exhibition worried about seductive consumerism should avoid seducing its consumers. Beauty, after all, is one of the great persuasive powers on earth. Sensually pleasing materials and precise compositions bespeak care and attention. Isn’t it ugly carelessness that causes landfills, shantytowns, deforestation, extinction, and mile after mile of freeway traffic lighting up the night? But still, how do objects stylish and well crafted, things that exist in a realm where all is lovingly polished and perfectly sited, instruct us about a world where dreck and sprawl rule?

Thus went my inner debate while I walked through Jason Middlebrook’s new show of sculptures,

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