The New York Times, Friday, May 12, 2006


By Ken Johnson

When the artist David Hammons recently rejected an invitation to do a show at the nonprofit exhibition space Triple Candie, the gallery's directors, Shelly Bancroft and Peter Nesbett, did one anyway. They mounted an unauthorized retrospective in the form of photocopies of Mr. Hammons' works taken from books, catalogs, and magazines.

Now, similarly rebuffed by Cady Noland, the influential sculptor know for refusing to cooperate with commercial galleries, Ms. Bancroft and Mr. Nesbett have simulated a Cady Noland exhibition. They invited four artists -- Taylor David, Rudy Shepherd and two who asked not to be named -- to copy 11 of Ms. Noland's darkly acerbic Neo Pop constructions, assemblages, and installations from the 1980s and 90s, using reproductions in books and magazines as guides. The works on view include an installation of Budweiser beer cases, steel scaffolding, auto parts and American flag bandannas; a cut-out and perforated figure of Lee Harvey Oswald being shot; and a wooden, silver-painted Minimalist sculpture of stocks, the old instrument of public punishment.

The show might be seen as a chance to think about an oevure that, while mostly inaccessible, remains pertinent to what young artists like Banks Violette, Josephine Meckseper and Kelley Walker are doing these days. Unfortunately, it is easier to see it as an attention-seeking stunt. No one who values Ms. Noland's work is going to care about seeing in-exact substitutes, and no serious critical judgments about her art should be based on such ersatz objects.

The show migh traise interesting questions about art and commerce, but Ms. Bancroft and Mr. Nesbett should make it clear whether they are running a gallery or doing their own conceptual art. Otherwise, their project comes off as confused, confusing and duplicitous.


On View