Wednesday, November 1st, 2000

Sarah Sze at Marianne Boesky

535 W 22nd Street,
2nd Floor
New York NY 10011

27th October to 18th November 2000

Sarah Sze is my pick of the week, month, so far year even. Her earlier installation-agglomerations (for example, the window piece in the Whitney Biennial) could sometimes seem too determinedly whimsical, edging towards the cloying. This time, though, they’re more dynamic, stretching and soaring across the airspaces of the gallery. They’re also simpler. Most are essentially a single piece of furniture – a bureau drawer, for example – capriciously disassembled and reanimated. Sze owes debts to people like Jessica Stockholder and Judy Pfaff, even to Robert Rauschenberg and Alexander Calder, but her work, with its fusion of cartoon surrealism and hardware store materialism, feels utterly fresh. If you’re skeptical about the connection to Calder, by the way, ask to see the tabletop piece hidden away in the gallery’s offices.

David Cohen writes:

I share Alexi Worth’s view that we haven’t seen better from Sze yet. I first admired her work at theĀ Fondation Cartier in Paris where she filled an already exquisite space with a sculptural exuberance at once funky and precious. But these pieces at Boesky are both more focused and resolved, and more wittily interactive with the space. I love in particular the futuristic-cum-comic strip star-shaped points of impact which puncture the walls. You can almost hear the word “Whaam” as the indentation occurs. Her inventiveness is protean, and to my mind she leaves Pfaff and Stockholder behind in her understanding of the dualism of the found object as thing-in-itself and pure shape/color: electric cable, desk lamps, clamps etc. But while at times we can marvel at the tension between structure and the density of components out of which it is composed, she loses us in the decorative footnotes, those prissy, pointless and poorly soldered plastic test tube things, for instance, clustering and fussing at her edges.