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John Chamberlain at PaceWildenstein

The Privet

The Hedge
   Titled "Chamberlain's Fauvist Landscape," this installation consists of two enormous pieces that fill the Greene Street space. The works are something of a departure for Chamberlain, who in recent years has shown familiar variations on his well-known crushed car-metal sculptures.

After suffering serious heath problems last year, Chamberlain seems to be in top form. These new works have a vitality and sense of adventurousness that have been missing from his work for quite some time. The Privet is a floor-to-ceiling construction made of tall, thin metal strips in wild colors, fixed to a foundation of densely packed crushed sheet metal. The work is shaped like a row of neatly trimmed bushes, similar to those surrounding the mansions of the wealthy. The Hedge is a long row of 16 waist-high box-like units made of crushed metal strips, half in chrome and half painted in garish hues.

In this piece, the regularity of the boxy shapes arranged in a tidy row -- so uncharacteristic of Chamberlain -- recalls the work of certain Minimalist sculptors. But when I asked the artist if the sculpture in any way referred to the work of Donald Judd, he glared at me in annoyance and snapped, "It has nothing to do with Judd. Fuck Judd!" Chamberlain, doing the best work of his career, clearly wants no detractors.

John Chamberlain, "Chamberlain's Fauve Landscape," Mar. 10-Apr. 25, 1998, at PaceWildenstein, 142 Greene Street, New York, N.Y. 10012