new-york

Luke Stettner, Three Identical Cubes, 2011, three-channel color video, 5 minutes 20 seconds.

Luke Stettner

Kate Werble Gallery

Luke Stettner, Three Identical Cubes, 2011, three-channel color video, 5 minutes 20 seconds.

In Luke Stettner’s almost colorless New York solo debut, one work stood out: a squat column of bright plastic plates—seven small ones stacked atop nine large. It has the look of a toy, though it turns out to be anything but; Stettner has fashioned the cheery 1970s vintage dishes, sourced from his childhood home, into an urn for his father’s ashes. He ground the original funerary vessel, a traditional marble affair, into dust and displayed it here under water and oil in a straight glass vase that resembles a laboratory test tube. Both vessels sit on slender wooden—ash, get it?—pedestals, and together describe a neat set of material, ideational, and emotional switcheroos. The original vessel has been transformed into a simulacrum of its own contents, while its replacement invests mass-produced Pop-Minimalist form with a surprising emotional frisson.

This systematic

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