new-york

B. Wurtz, Unpleasant Private Thoughts and Secret Words, 1973, mixed media, each box 2 x 4 x 3".

B. Wurtz

Metro Pictures

B. Wurtz, Unpleasant Private Thoughts and Secret Words, 1973, mixed media, each box 2 x 4 x 3".

“How have I never heard of him?” This eavesdropped question, asked with equal measures of surprise and embarrassment by a tapped-in critic, likely typified the response to this wonder of a show. B. Wurtz—born in Pasadena, California, in 1948; educated at University of California, Berkeley, and CalArts; working in New York since the mid-’80s—has largely avoided detection by art-world radar. This solo exhibition, curated by Matthew Higgs and mounted in collaboration with Feature Inc., Wurtz’s longtime gallery, went some way toward rectifying the artist’s too-little-known status even as it disclosed why this wizard of household materials is not a household name. The sixty-four selections, spanning from 1970 to the present, are meager of means and seem almost willfully marginal: sculptures, assemblages, and floor- and wall-bound pieces knocked together from plastic carrier

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