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Back to Reviews 97

Tree Stump, 1995-6

Wisdom Tooth 
Fool Dolls, 1993 

Someday from 
the Bottom of
the Bottle, 1994

Peanuts, 1996

larry krone 

at lombard-freid

by Elisabeth Kley

Larry Krone's work is permeated with a 

homespun esthetic of alcoholic Americana. 

Valentines made of crushed beer cans, 

dancing cocktail peanuts with pipecleaner 

legs, liquor bottles personalized with 

stick-on letters--Krone's feats of fab-

rication seem to stem from ideas dreamed up 

drunk and carried out sober. Using familiar

craft techniques to make cozy but perverse 

keepsakes, his installation brought the 

dysfunctional comforts of home to Lombard-

Freid, a gallery specializing in conceptual 

art. Even the announcement, a personalized 

newsprint take-off on the old Wild West 

"wanted" poster, helped set up the perfect 

ambiance of a basement bar with a country-

music soundtrack.

Spread over three rooms, this ambitious 

exhibition, Krone's first one-person show 

in New York, included sculpture, drawings, 

an installation, a series of videos, and 

sculpture--things like ornate souvenir 

pillboxes filled with spools of hair, tiny 

little clowns with heads made from painted 

wisdom teeth, and a brown cotton tree-

stump cushion stuffed with cedar chips. 

Maudlin country lyrics are etched on the 

bottoms of empty liquor bottles and 

glasses placed on shelves throughout the 

gallery, as if to show drinkers the 

contents of their hearts. And you didn't 

need to be drunk to see cocktail peanuts 

grow arms and legs and prance about, 

because Krone brought three thousand of 

them to life with tiny white pipe-cleaner 

limbs. Taking over one small room, the 

animated nibbles overflowed from wooden 

bowls, holding each other in chains like 

monkeys, and carpeted the floor, waving 

their arms and legs in the air. 

Standing in the shower, trying to sober 

up, watching your hair clog up the drain? 

For a series of small drawings, "All I 

Ever Got From You was Being Lonely " (1995), 

Krone pressed clouds of drain hair between 

sheets of transparent paper. In the bottom 

row of drawings was more hair, wound 

around nail templates and stiffened with 

hairspray, to spell out poignant title phrase, 

a pathetic sentiment rendered in an even 

more pathetic material. If you drink alot, 

you pee alot, so Country Music Video #3 

(1992) begins with an open toilet, seat up, 

country music playing in the background, 

while flowing into the john for over three 

minutes, exactly the length of the song, is 

a stream of urine, so noisy you can almost 

smell it, almost drowning out the music, 

until the tip of a penis enters the frame and 

shakes, and the toilet flushes. According to 

the artist, this marathon urination film is 

"the crude realization of a fantasy--a 

grandiose macho achievement. 

In intimate spaces--the bathroom, the 

shower--Larry Krone exposed his vulnerable 

self to the world. Capping the entertainment 

with a charming live performance at the 

gallery on Nov. 21, he ineptly strummed 

a tiny monogrammed ukulele, accompanied 

by family and friends, and warbled classics 

like Jimmy Buffett's "Wastin' away again 

in margaritaville, searchin' for my lost 

shaker of salt..." His dry sense of humor 

and the obvious affection for the music 

infused genuine feeling into the hackneyed 

sentiments of the familiar country tunes. 

With its endearing domesticity tempered by 

constant variation of material and form, 

this body of work was sophisticated enough 

to keep you guessing, yet cuddly enough to 

take home and love.

Larry Krone at Lombard-Freid Fine Arts, 

Nov. 15 - Dec. 15, 1996, 470 Broome 

Street, New York, N.Y. 10013.

ELIZABETH KLEY is a New York artist who 

writes on art.