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by Max Henry
|The Body Electric
Summertime is for sweating and suntans, the surface of the body glowing from pleasurable exertions like hiking and swimming. But Jeanne Silverthorne's restless intellect won't allow time off from the rigors of the studio, where rather than tanning her skin she magnifies and replicates it into biomorphic cast-rubber forms.
For Silverthorne's exhibition at the Whitney Museum at Philip Morris in midtown, "The Studio Stripped Bare, Again" (July 30-Oct. 15, 1999), branch curator Debra Singer has installed a cast rubber version of the artist's studio. On the wall are ornate black rubber frames containing mustard colored "paintings" -- those magnified repros of the human skin and sweat glands. So that's what we look like up close! Yellow cast rubber shapes rest on pedestals, and cast rubber fuse boxes, light fixtures, outlets and electrical cords spill out into the atrium and crawl up the wall to the very high ceiling.
A literal translation of an actual place, Silverthorne's work begins with the body and ends with a sculptural object -- like a geneticist's cloning of the myriad points of a complex system, and the dispersal of its elemental attributes into a plausible abstraction.
Corporations Need Art
MAX HENRY is a New York poet and critic.