Thursday, March 4, 2010

"Skin Fruit"

The New Museum in the Bowery is hosting an exhibition curated by Jeff Koons, titled "Skin Fruit".

All the pieces on display belong to Dakis Joannou's private collection. He also happens to be a trustee at the museum and the conflict of interest is fueling some controversy.

The museum is located in an upcoming area of the Bowery and the building itself is keeping its stand on the block, its austere shape somewhat softened by the white color of the building.

The exhibition occupies four levels of the museum and the lobby, with more than one hundred works. It will be opened till June the 6th.

The theme relates to the human body and to be somewhat facetious, a lot of hairs are involved (artificial and real human hairs), as an example, Robert Gober's sculpture seen above.

A sober installation from Maurizio Cattelan, obsessed with death, fills a whole room. About ten sculptures of corpses, each covered by a shroud which delineates soft shapes of the bodies, are well aligned in a room, on one row. It is very solemn. The white marble from Carrara is beautifully sculpted and one feels like touching it. At intervals, a singer standing in a corner of the room, repeats a song a Capella followed by some text. It is very mournful.

Another work from Cattelan is displayed in a small backroom. A wax replica of a dead man in his black suit lies in a casket. He is serene in his deep sleep. It is so realistic that I caught myself speaking in a low voice, and I realized that the casket was filled with all the deceased I cherish.
Fitting the theme, a giant from David Altmejd is towering high in one room. I thought of the Grimms' Fairytales. The giant is made of plaster, mirrors shaped like crystals, fake moss, a squarrel is climbing on his back, and the torso is empty, eaten away: a very primitive giant, still standing but decaying, vulnerable.
Jeff Koons includes one of his sculptures in the exhibition "One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank" as pictured above.It looks odd in this exhibit, peripheral.
Tim Noble & Sue Webster present "Black Narcissus", a black sculpture made of a wormy interlace of penises. This apparently disorderly heap, in the light of a projector, becomes the shadow of a greek double profile on the white wall.
Two chocolate towers from Terence Koh are decaying slowly on the fourth floor, and add an olfactive experience to the visit.
Many more artists are represented. I found the quality of the art somewhat uneven. But who knows, the future will tell us...
This exhibit is pleasant to visit. It is not overwhelming, at the same time, filled with interesting encounters.
The photograph is a copy from the New Museum's website. No photographs were allowed.

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