Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 12, Farrah Karapetian

Abstract Smallness

Abstract Smallness
July 12, 2011
PØST: 1904 East 7th Place LA CA 90021 USA 213 4881280

Curator: Farrah Karapetian
Artists: Benjamin Britton, Ginny Cook, Daniel Cummings, Mara De Luca, Deanna Erdmann, Alexandria Harris, Ivan Iannoli, Kelly Kleinschrodt, Kasper Kovitz, Sarah Lowing, Dana Maiden, Julie Orser, Kim Schoen, Allen Tombello

In 1970, Michael Fried wrote that Anthony Caro’s table sculptures, each of which was an intentionally small work, “could not be seen merely as reduced versions of larger ones.” These were “sculptures whose smallness was to be secured abstractly, made part of their essence, instead of remaining simply a literal, quantitative fact about them.” Caro’s solution to embedding the necessity of particular dimensions into the very syntax of his sculptures was one arguably specific to the conversation of his time; the logic he applied in this regard employed a materialist logic that led to the decision to incorporate handles into the table sculptures, so that the scale of each piece was keyed to “that of graspable, manipulable objects.” His logic led also to the decision to include an element in each piece that would exist below the level of the tabletop on which the sculpture was to be placed, thereby precluding the sculpture’s transposition, “in fact or in imagination, to the ground.” This latter decision determined both the dimensions of the piece and its position in space and with respect to the viewer – again, through the modernist logic of material. In 2011, working through a more diverse conceptual lens, artists arrive at the specific scale of a work through a more diverse set of theorizations and instincts. Abstract Smallness collects fourteen such solutions and briefly, in the context of PØST’s one-night Kamikaze exhibitions, poses the question: what drives the formal parameters of contemporary work when contemporary work is not necessarily driven by formal parameters nor driven by one dominant logic at all?