Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Cave and Sandback -- a nice study in contrasts
The phrase "no common thread" easily comes to mind when I look at these images.
From an artist's utilization of the very least (Fred Sandback at David Zwirner) to the very complex (Nick Cave at Jack Shainman) here are two strong examples as to why great contemporary art is so subjective. But in each case, the shows deliver a knockout punch.
Sandback here-- an eternal fave of mine-- is excedingly brilliant and peaceful in his dissection of space and time itself with his only tool being a piece of string. You'll never be more conscious of your place on planet earth than when it's literally mapped out before you in plane geometry. Sandback's intersections function as an almost pre-GPS modality, exacting location to the most miniscule of measurements. I can never walk through a Sandback work without doing a double-take, for one can never be quite sure of what might happen if you stick your hand or foot through his portal. I wish Sandback were still alive today. It would be so exciting to see what new creations he'd have up his sleeve.
Cave, on the other hand, brilliantly references African tribal dresswear, and turns it on its head, enmeshing itself with vibrant color and texture. For these are "soundsuits" precisely because of the noise they make when worn, not unlike a seashell belt clanging to the rhythm of its dancer's motion. Cave here does a fantastic job enmeshing the fragility of the human physical form with a protective outer candy-coated shell, serving as both decoration and protection from the outside elements. Protection here could reference anyone meant to do physical, mental or spiritual harm. No showgoer has come out of Shainman in the past few weeks with mouths not agape. It is a true celebration of color and culture, as well as skilled craftsmanship.
Both shows are a mandatory do-not-miss, and each for their very different reasons. I've included more pics for your enjoyment here. But don't just listen to me. I recommend you experience these shows firsthand to understand.