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Robert Graham, Untitled, 1970, mixed media, 11 3/8 x 28 x 20".

Robert Graham

David Zwirner | 525 & 533 West 19th Street

Robert Graham, Untitled, 1970, mixed media, 11 3/8 x 28 x 20".

“Imagine a bevy of beach bummerettes,” wrote Robert Pincus-Witten in these pages in 1968, “in sunbleached tresses and wet T-shirts [who] had stumbled into Giacometti’s The Palace at 4 A.M. [1932].” He is describing tabletop sculptures by the Californian artist Robert Graham (1938–2008). Graham’s dioramas, made between 1965 and 1971, are populated by hyperrealist wax figurines, nearly all female and mostly scaled at one inch to one foot. They are housed in Plexiglas boxes reminiscent of Richard Neutra bungalows as decorated by a slapdash Richard Diebenkorn, with interlocking rectilinear daubs of white, pea-green, and ocher pigment, and ruglike squares of pinkish-brown craft paper. The Giacometti angle comes in via the dolls’ eroticized interactions with abstracted “furniture”—twists of wire, scatalogical lumps, some phallic twigs. There are, in fact, no T-shirts, wet or dry;

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