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Ben Grasso
Redbarn
2011
Thierry Goldberg Projects
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DOOMSDAY PREACHER
by Donald Kuspit



A house is not always a home, and Ben Grasso’s is far from homey -- not even inhabitable. The houses in Adaptation and Ungrounded are falling apart, and those in Construction Proposal and Redbarn are under construction, and unlikely to be completed, considering their absurd complexity. The house in Caution has been ripped off the earth, as the vegetation and dirt clinging to it suggest. A tornado has uprooted it, as Grasso’s Sturm und Drang manhandling of nature suggests -- turbulent, manic brushwork invariably suggests an emotional storm, psychic catastrophe in the making. The house may be broken, battered, even damaged beyond repair, but it retains its form, however much the form is a dead shell, for the house is as empty as Grasso’s other houses. They’re all abandoned and banal, and cheaply built of dead wood, planar boards painted with slapdash precision -- each is sort of descriptive dash, ambiguously dashing mark and empirical illusion -- suggesting that the house is a dead abstract construction charged with gestural life.

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