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Cosima von Bonin, HERMIT CRAB, 2018, steel cement mixer, fabric, rubber, 52 x 50 x 38".

Cosima von Bonin

Petzel Gallery | West 18th Street

Cosima von Bonin, HERMIT CRAB, 2018, steel cement mixer, fabric, rubber, 52 x 50 x 38".

In the paintings gallery at Kunsthaus Zürich, there is a wonderfully odd work from 1892 by the Swiss symbolist Arnold Böcklin titled Saint Anthony Preaching to the Fish. It depicts the Franciscan friar addressing a beached, slack-jawed shark, grumpy groupers, and confounded barracudas; a couple of crabs raise their claws in praise. A poem by the seventeenth-century Augustinian priest Abraham a Sancta Clara tells the story of the friar, who found his church empty and went to the river to preach to more willing subjects. The poem was set to music by Gustav Mahler in 1893, and in 1979 Glenn Gould delivered a nasal rendition of the composition to a herd of elephants at the Toronto Zoo, a performance captured by John McGreevy in his film Glenn Gould’s Toronto. The elephants were unimpressed, as Abraham’s lyrics predicted: “The crabs still walk backwards / The stockfish stay rotund /

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