Lorena Turner: Made in China 0.00156 Acres 114 Smith Street Brooklyn, NY Through July 31 Product packaging started primarily for hygienic reasons. General stores used to stock sugar, crackers, and pickles in huge barrels, and for every order the grocer would dip in his scoop. Not only was it unsanitary, but customers also might leave wondering if they got what they paid for (“Was his finger on the scale…?”). Food packaging guaranteed sterile products and standardized portions—in a word, purity. Packaging also created new real estate on grocery store shelves, and companies found it necessary to distinguish their product from others like it. What we now call branding spread from food to every kind of product. Right angles and regular shapes made for easier packing and shipping, too. All the focus on the pristine package has led us to take for granted that its contents are immaculate—spotless, clean, untouched. But in fact, that’s an illusion. It’s likely that many people have laid hands on your shiny new alarm clock before it was wrapped up, sent off, unwrapped by you, and put on your bedside table. It’s these ghostly handlers that are the real subjects of Lorena Turner’s show Made in China at 0.00156 Acres Gallery in Brooklyn. After buying China-made products from stores in her neighborhood, Turner carefully peeled back their cardboard shells or plastic sleeves, dusted for fingerprints using CSI-style forensic techniques, and then photographed them under a black light. Her show of small-scale photographs presents what she found on the surfaces of a radio, a ball, a needle-threader and other quotidian objects. Some of these object-subjects make an appearance in the exhibition, piled up in a clear acrylic pedestal that supports the guest book in the pantry-sized gallery. For such meaty conceptual territory, the show feels a bit hampered by the restrictive space. To get to the gallery, one must enter through an adjoining thrift store, itself a showcase for well-worn cast-offs, themselves lousy with prints and past lives. Without knowing their backstory, the subjects of many of Turner’s close-up photographs have an arresting beauty and offer the fascination of a familiar object blown up and made unfamiliar through a new frame. But it’s the sense of the uncanny that takes over after learning that the indistinct smudges on each object are fingerprints. Humanity—and all the messiness and emotion that evokes—is suddenly present. In an instant, each cool, machine-made still life transforms into an affecting, if disembodied, portrait.
Posts tagged with "On View":
194X–9/11: American Architects and the City The Museum of Modern Art 11 West 53rd St. Through January 2 Prompted by the United States’ entrance into World War II in 1942, Architectural Forum magazine commissioned pioneering architects to imagine and plan a postwar American city. At the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 194X-9/11: American Architects and the City features the plans, renderings, and sculpture of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Louis Kahn, Paul Rudolph, and Rem Koolhaas and their ideas for cities of the future. Rarely displayed works, such as Mies van der Rohe’s collage Museum for a Small City Project (1942), above, reveal plans for cultural centers and urban life in uncertain times.
The American Style: Colonial Revival and the Modern Metropolis Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Avenue Through October 30 Following the U.S. Centennial of 1876, architecture in New York City was defined by what was known as “the American style,” a visual language referencing both the nation’s nostalgia for its beginnings and its progressive aspirations. A new exhibition reveals the impact of Colonial Revival on the cityscape through vintage photographs and objects like a 1926 mahogany settee by the Company of Master Craftsmen, whose volutes reflect a resurgence in classicism that is the trademark of the Colonial.
Blinky Palermo: Retrospective 1964-1977 Dia: Beacon/CCS Bard 3 Beekman Street/18 West 86th St. Beacon, NY/New York, NY Though October 31 Dia: Beacon and the Bard Center for Curatorial Studies have co-organized a comprehensive exhibition of the post-war German artist Blinky Palermo. Palermo’s works on paper (1963–1973) are on view at Bard, while his Metal Pictures and later works (1973–1977) are displayed in Dia: Beacon’s expansive galleries. A student of Joseph Beuys, Palermo’s work dealt with the relationship of color and space, and in Europe he gained notice for his abstract large-scale murals. Inspired by a trip to America in the early ‘70s, Palermo created the To the People of New York series, above, based on the colors of the East German and West German flags.