For Anton Kern’s summer show, White Columns director Matthew Higgs has assembled artworks from the past 20-odd years, making the case for the idea of display as an art form, not simply something confined to department or grocery stores. His selections cover a rich range of methods and materials.
Among them are B. Wurtz’s trophies celebrating the absurd, which consist of white tube socks atop tin cans mounted on wooden pedestals. Rachel Harrison evokes the image of a streetwalker by cobbling together a makeshift phone booth complete with an outdated caller-ID phone, a swath of fake fur, a Manhattan Yellow Pages and an assortment of trash bags.
Josh Smith’s 2011 Stage Painting 1 announces both the artist’s absence and presence with a small collapsible stage equipped with clip lights pointing to his name painted on a canvas backdrop. Annette Kelm’s color photographs document the German Historical Museum’s vitrines devoted to the 1970s women’s movement, while Moyra Davey does something similar with New York City newsstands. Nancy Shaver exhibits altered found objects alongside bric-a-brac from her secondhand store in Hudson. Like most of the other artists in this fascinating roundup, she imbues her efforts with a light, poetic touch.—Paul Laster