Saturday, March 1st, 2014

A Concentrated Rectangle of Glitz: Rob Hickman in Dumbo

Rob Hickman: DMMDIA at Smack Mellon

January 18 to March 2, 2014
92 Plymouth Street at Washington?Street
Dumbo, Brooklyn, 718 834 – 8761

Installation view, DMMDIA at Smack Mellon, 2014.  Photo: Etienne Frossard
Installation view, DMMDIA at Smack Mellon, 2014. Photo: Etienne Frossard

The factory floor that is Smack Mellon’s Piranesi-like main space cannot but play itself, and many remarkable installations have issued from the challenges of its remote nooks and crannies. The space seems particularly filled up in Rob Hickman’s emptied-out installation, DMMDIA. Spanning an enormous wall, Hickman’s 3-D, polyhedral mirror sculpture reflects, infinitely fragmented in its pyramidal teeth, one of the most extraordinary art spaces in the city, not forgetting its spectacular view.

Hickman adds no extraneous glitz, just a concentrated rectangle of it. Museum-scale horizontality is emphasized by the artist’s careful treatment of the sculpture’s 48-foot long top and bottom edges, cleanly sliced off by coincident planes of polyhedra. A regular march of spikes reveals itself at this surgical boundary. If the interior is somewhat “soft” in its razor-sharp geometry, these rows of protrusions bring to mind the rhythmic menace of a diamond-studded dog collar.

DMMDIA’s combination of savagery, elegance, and gaudiness can stand for a legacy of subterranean Brooklyn clubland, in which, for a quarter century, mirror-ball party culture has gotten enthusiastically satirized by DIY artist-entreprenueur-participants. Hickman is a first-wave insider of the Williamsburg scene, at any rate, and visitors are free to imagine DMMDIA lording it over a dark, noisy warehouse – a rave avant la lettre. But silence and broad daylight work just as well, the sculpture casting a glittery, fracturing spell over the eternal now –– like “retinal shrapnel” in the vivid words of the press release. Therefore, a suggestion to Smack Mellon: In the spirit of Warhol’s Empire and Marclay’s The Clock, why not schedule an all-night viewing of DMMDIA? Begin with a wild party and end with sleeping bags and hangovers.

Installation view, DMMDIA at Smack Mellon, 2014.  Photo: Etienne Frossard
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