New York Times, June 18, 2004

ART IN REVIEW: The Reality of Things
By Ken Johnson

Some things in ''The Reality of Things'' are just what they seem, some are not. Real-looking cantaloupes in a pyramidal stack by Martha Friedman turn out to be made of cast and painted urethane foam, while Tony Feher's stacks of black and brown milk crates involve no deception. A wall of concrete blocks by Akiko Ichikawa is also just what it is. So you may assume that Hans Accola's plastic jug of yellow carpenter's glue is simply a found object. Then you realize that the jug is a gallon-size milk bottle, which Mr. Accola slyly filled with glue, labeled and capped.

With Tara Donovan's four-foot cube composed of straight pins, you immediately wonder if there is some trick, like an interior magnet holding the pins in place. But no, something about the structure of pins enables them to hang together all by themselves.

Sol Sax's contribution looks like an uprooted fence post with a clod of cement attached to one end. Look again and you see that the clod is the head of an American Indian, making it a metaphor for buried guilt. By using a silver marker to add the pinstripes of a business executive's power suit to a thrift-store coat, Shinique Smith comments on economic inequity. Also sociologically evocative are Daniel Guzman's homage to Hank Williams, composed of spent beer cans and words illuminated in neon, and Robert Gober's fake advertising fliers.

Eric Brown, Adriana Farmiga and Sherrie Levine each do things with wood, confounding the natural and the artificial and -- as this whole, nicely understated exhibition does -- compounding our sense of the existential slipperiness of things.


On View