Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Steinbach revision

Haim Steinbach's Creature shows both the familiar work of objects placed on shelves, as well as new explorations of text and patterns on the wall. The first gallery room shows Steinbach's object groupings, objects ranging from toys and household goods to junk shop items. These every day items are placed on beautifully constructed wooden shelves that are triangular and sleek. Western Hills, one of the first pieces in this first room, displays a cartoon-ish sheriff statuette with the word USA carved on the bottom, a metal bucket that has a sticker saying "INVEST IN AMERICA. MADE IN USA", and a wooden childs toy where different colored slices of a cone can be stacked. These objects seem to obviously go together; the viewer feels a memory or story from their own past from these objects. However, along with this sense of familiarity, the meaning also seems inaccessable because we can never know why Steinbach chose these objects and what their pairings might mean to him.

The next room featured large black vinyl text on two walls (No Elephants and to think it all started with a mouse), while the other two walls have shallow wooden frames with painted bronze Degas statuettes of dancers inside. Upstairs, the viewer is confronted with walls covered entirely in patterns or text. The walls are set up at odd angles to each other so the viewer must squeeze through narrow spaces to enter a smaller room which reads, "you don't get it, do you?"

I enjoy Steinbach's playful nature, but I find that the object groupings are the strongest work in this show. They introduce an interesting juxtaposition of personal memories and meanings and the meaning Steinbach may have intended.

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