Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I (heart) New Museum

Over the weekend I went to see the expertly curated "After Nature" expo at the New Museum. I liked the approach to the idea of Nature in the show, which included human nature in addition to what you would expect with treatment of elements in the landscape.

Zoe Leonard's Tree is a perfect example of embracing both academic tenets of sculpture and the conceptual thrust of the show. It is a tree, as implied by the title, that has been cut up and fastened back together with a lot of hardware, not to mention the rigging that keeps the sculpture upright in the exhibition space. That is probably the best, most literal work dealing with the "after nature" thesis. Maurizio Cattalan's Untitled sculpture worked in that same way, however walking in a semi-circle from the wall, underneath the taxidermy horse produces a wild effect. Both sculptures unfold visually like one of those earlier 50's David Smith sculptures, like MOMA's Australia.

Other nominees of interest include:

In the Biggest Surprise category -
Nancy Graves, 200 Stills at 60 Frames

Most Intense (visually and otherwise) -
Werner Herzog, Lessons of Darkness

Luke Warm Award goes to...
Dana Schutz, Man Eating His Chest

Time Out New York gave "After Nature" three stars. The show is not entirely a feast of visual bombast, but it is a careful and considerate, clear, but not didactic, experience.

Afterward my travelling companion and I went to momofuku for lunch. As we sat drinking our root beer, discussing the exhibition, while I kept thinking of that Lou Reed song "Perfect Day".

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