Magazine Home  |  News  |  Features  |  Reviews  |  Books  |  People  |  Horoscope  
Back to Reviews 96

Untitled (Buzz and Dust) 1995 Gold Mats, Paired (For Ross and Felix), 1994/95 You Are the Weather, 1994/96 Limit of the Twilight, 1991/95

roni horn 
at matthew marks 

by John Zinsser 
What's it all about, Roni? Once again 
viewers are left holding the bag when it 
comes to figuring out the work of meta-
minimalist sculptor Horn. Since earning 
her MFA from Yale in 1978, Horn has been 
served up to the public as a big deal. 
European museums, Leo Castelli Gallery, 
the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, 
Mary Boone, Matthew Marks, she's done it 
all. Often times, Horn's work defies a 
single signature style. Squat neo-Platonic 
metallic geometric solids have been 
contrasted with pieces in which words are 
cast into blocks. Drawings of simple 
shapes in dark tones have evoked Richard 
Serra, Ellsworth Kelly and other formalist 
heavyweights. This show, true to eclectic 
form, presents Five Installations. 
Marks's elegant downtown showcase has been 
subdivided into into a series of open-
topped rooms, each housing a single piece 
and lit with available skylights to 
dramatic effect. Most arresting, when you 
first come in, is Untitled (Buzz and Dust), 
1995. Here, shiny metal blocks containing 
single matte-black capital letters are strewn 
toward the walls, making for a visually 
appealing scatter piece. (A gallery worker 
informed me that the blocks spell 'E-P-H-E-
M-E-R-A-L' 24 times.) The next room, titled 
Gold Mats, Paired-for Ross and Felix, has 
two rectangular sheets of wafer-thin finely 
scored gold, the one resting on top of the 
other. The bottom one is flat, the top 
slightly crumpled like bed linen. The way 
the piece catches the light is striking, 
making for an aggressive material/immaterial 
juxtaposition. More user-friendly is 
Untitled (You are the Weather), 1995, a 
rumpus room of sorts. In it, black rubber 
mats in cut squares are fitted exactly to 
the room's dimension. Imbedded are plastic 
words: 'nice,' 'gloomy,' 'dry,' 'fair,' 
'clear,' 'violent,' 'foul,' 'torrid.' It's 
like a Jenny Holzer love poem that you can 
jump around on. Also included is Horn's 
first large-scaled photography-based piece. 
It,You are the Weather, 1994-95, has 100 
near life-sized black-and-white and color 
portraits of the same woman's face 
encircling a room. She's always shown in 
water, usually up to her neck in it, with 
droplets on face and hair pulled back. This 
Icelandic-looking woman's visage peers out 
at the photographer, running a narrow gamut 
of expressions: quizzical, pensive, 
bemused, scornful, concerned, bored. The 
common denominator is some degree of brow-
furrowing going on in each. Taken together, 
it's like Thomas Ruff times 100 and more 
funny. In the end, Horn leaves it up to 
viewers to put the composite of her pieces 
together. This much can be said, it
ain't cheap ($50,000-$100,000, each). And 
it ain't Carl Andre. But it is unmistakably 
a phenomenon, and the broad selection makes 
the shopping that much easier.
522 West 22nd St.
Feb. 11 - April 14