Los Angeles

Raúl de Nieves, Psychopomp, 2018, vintage millinery trim, rhinestones, plastic beads, thread, glue, cardboard, mannequin, zipper, 44 × 15 × 25".

Raúl de Nieves

Freedman Fitzpatrick

Raúl de Nieves, Psychopomp, 2018, vintage millinery trim, rhinestones, plastic beads, thread, glue, cardboard, mannequin, zipper, 44 × 15 × 25".

The work of Mexican-born, New York–based artist Raúl de Nieves owes much of its sensibility to early-1970s glam: its artifice, excess, and glittering attitude toward gender. But there was nothing nostalgic, ironic, or retro about the seven figurative sculptures, four mosaiclike wall works, and three drawings that comprised this show. Rather, the works’ dazzling, obsessive surfaces seemed earnestly drawn from some collision of nature, Pop, and fantasy in the service of pure theater. The actors here were six three-foot-tall bodies, each a construction of fiberglass, glue, and multicolored plastic beads that resembled oversize sugar candies. Peopling the crimson-walled gallery, the thigh-high troupe of sprites wore ornamented, color-coded costumes variously supplemented by headdresses, wings, and platform shoes (all of which appear often in de Nieves’s sculptures). Vaguely recalling

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