Say one thing for Turner Prize winner Keith Tyson (b. 1969), he’s not shy when it comes to choosing subject matter. His Large Field Array, now on view at PaceWildenstein’s 22nd Street space in Chelsea, is nothing less than a complete Pop cosmology. The warehouse-sized gallery is filled with 230 colorful cubical sculptures, each about 24 inches to the side, arranged in a grid and suspended on the walls.
Dubbed Large Field Array (after those radio telescope dishes in New Mexico), the grid ostensibly ranges from hot to cold, from sun to moon, from birth to death. It has intersecting rows devoted to time, carbon cycles, chemical elements, autobiography, the literature field, "a canopy of skies" and more.
Individual sculptures -- and they’re not all cubical, by any means -- include an overscaled die, a soccer ball, a clear box filled with bubbling mud (after Robert Rauschenberg), a mini-tornado of water mist in a box, a giant pearl in a oversized clam, a chair made of skeletons, a block of stacked Slovak 10-koruna bills, an oversized pink piggybank, a large cubical wrapped birthday present, an old-fashioned barrel, a big cowboy hat, a model of a Medusa head and a baby doll in an incubator.
Other elements are less easily identifiable, and the whole suggests a vast and encyclopedic system of meaning that seems schizophrenic, though in the end it’s more Disney than demented. Overall, it’s a marvel of art fabrication, a bit of Matthew Barney’s "The Cremaster Cycle" channeled through Jeff Koons’ "Celebration" series. Maybe "Maximalism" is a real art movement after all.
We don’t get it here in New York first. Large Field Array has toured museums in Denmark and the Netherlands, and has already been sold by Tyson’s London dealer, Haunch of Venison, to London-based collectors Anita and Poju Zabludowicz, who are said to be planning a museum in Las Vegas for the work. The sale price hasn’t been revealed, but a good guess would be somewhere between $5 million and $10 million. The only thing available for New Yorkers to buy is the poster-sized guide to the sculpture, which is $2.
The soft-spoken gang travels to Beverly Hills in search of a good skateboarding ramp and, after being chased away, head back home, encountering a variety of adventures (and losing a few of their number) along the way. The picture has been compared to Burt Lancaster’s The Swimmer (1968) as well as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), but the true model for this tale is the Odyssey. Among the highlights: one of the kids ends up in the bath with a zoned-out Janice Dickinson.
Now, Clark is exhibiting a series of color photos of one of the stars of the film, Jonathan Velazquez, at Luhring Augustine in a show titled "Larry Clark: Los Angeles 2003-2006," with an accompanying book. Clark met the 14-year-old Velazquez in 2002 while doing a photo shoot to promote his film Ken Park (2002), and clearly was snowed -- he has photographed him ever since (Velazquez is 18 now). 31 pictures are in the exhibition and 46 in the book.
Like Tulsa (1971), Kids (1995) and most of the rest of Clark’s provocative work, "Los Angeles 2003-2006" (and Wassup Rockers) is personal and intimate. But after all these years, it also shows that with Clark, all that pushing at the boundaries has ended up centered on love.
The photos are printed in editions of three with one artist’s proof. Single images are $18,000 and diptychs are $30,000. The exhibition travels to Simon Lee in London.
Craig-Martin’s new exhibition at Greenberg Van Doren Gallery in the Crown Building on Fifth Avenue, a group of 13 color photos called "American Summer" and taken largely at benefit cocktail parties in the Hamptons in 2006 and 2007, shows that she has already tired of this more-than-effective formula. "I’m not trying to lampoon anyone," she said to Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts magazine, rather wishfully it seems.
The best new pictures take a more careful semiotic reading of her subject. A photo subtitled Safe Champagne, for instance, shows a bartender’s hand in a latex glove, presumably to protect against all manner of infection, while the amazing Showing Pink pictures the midriff of a woman wearing a bright magenta mini with rosettes at the hem, more or less at the level of her sex. Hello, Desmond Morris and The Naked Ape!
But Craig-Martin’s sense of mischief is still in evidence. Denise Rich, that bête-noir of the Right Wing (it has so many), is shown in the midst of a grimace typical to an Air Kiss, and the photo of ladies doing the Frug in their animal-print gowns is as ludicrous now as it was in the days of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.
Finally, call me a sap, but From Town Car to Tent, which shows some socialite, calf to waist, wearing a childish white dress and dangling a jeweled clutch like a Madison Avenue Christopher Robin, is almost endearing -- no doubt the intended result.
The photos are done in editions of five with two artist’s proofs, and are priced at $8,000 and $15,000, depending on size.
While Arman’s art is about the "consumption of mass quantities" (as the Coneheads would put it several decades later), Caesar -- could he have found artistic inspiration in his own name, which he shares with the late French assemblagist César, Arman’s Noveau Réaliste compatriot? -- seems to prefer studio detritus.
What’s more, Caesar cuts his blocks of resin-and-trash into thin, pictorial slices, like some kind of industrial-era fruitcake. His installation at D’Amelio Terras, called "Three Views from Space," includes a wall of 24 of these panels, measuring 29 x 24 in. each (213 x 73 in. overall), faced by an upholstered recliner chair that is surrounded by refuse as if it were ready to be resinized. Accessorizing the scene is a kind of "planter" -- a resin cube of organic matter with dried plants sprouting from it.
Thus, the artist’s enterprise is presented as a rather drab and fragmented amalgam of a fairly random and hardly integrated studio practice. Roberta Smith wrote in the New York Times that it might be too gimmicky, but it sounds just right to me. The large wall piece is priced at $32,000, while the chair is $23,000. A sole single slab of resin was priced at $5,000, and marked sold.
N-YHS museum chief Linda Ferber acknowledged the difficulties of "estheticizing" objects connected with tragedy and death, and indeed the items do resemble Abstract Expressionist sculpture to an uncomfortable degree. "In the end," said Ferber, "it’s about treating the objects with respect. They do become like ‘relics’."
The next day saw Hirst’s fashion stylings on the runway at Gagosian Gallery, which was installed with Hirst’s spin and dot paintings for the event. Among the designs were jackets with rhinestone skulls on their backs, and pants done spin-painting style. "They looked like PVC!" said Artnet Magazine photog Mary Barone.
WALTER ROBINSON is editor of Artnet Magazine.