Saturday, November 5, 2016

“Who's Exploiting Who in the Deep Sea?” Cosima von Bonin at The Sculpture Center

Oppression. Abuse. Profiteering. Those are some of the words that come to mind when reading the title of Cosima von Bonin’s first solo show in NYC. But inside the exhibition is an array of ludicrous sculptures, such as a stuffed animal shark sitting on a desk and a giant bikini hanging on the wall. The marine-themed pieces cover fifteen years of Bonin’s work and take over the first floor of the Sculpture Center.
The protagonists of the show are a series of stuffed animals arranged in nonsensical scenarios. “Total Produce (Morality)” consists of a crazy-eyed, large octopus laying over a rug. The artist used over a dozen fabrics to produce this piece, including floral patterns and neon-printed flags. A hermit crab ("The Bonin/Oswald Empire") faces a pair of microphones as if to give a news conference. Its floppy limbs fall over the life-guard chair it’s on, giving the creature a cadaverous look. These handmade pieces share the exhibit with readymade sculptures of beachy objects, like changing cabins and food trucks. A series of speakers that emit the sound of ocean waves combined with white noise are also scattered across the exhibit.
So who is exploiting who in the deep sea? The apparently serious question doesn’t seem to find an answer among the playful artworks of Cosima von Bonin.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe I was still processing my experience from PS1, but this show didn't do much for me. I was glad to see that you addressed the title of show right off the bat, but I am still not sure that I understand. I like that you point out playful appearance but ultimate emptiness of the show as a whole, but I think you could have a stronger statement at the end. Your opening sentence is powerful and takes a stand, so maybe close with something that packs as strong a punch. Who is exploiting who in the deep sea and why do we care?