New Yorker Haim Steinbach is an art-world heavyweight. Best-known as purveyor (along with Jeff Koons) of what for a short time in the 1980s was dubbed ‘Commodity Art’ – a flashy kind of art which held a mirror up to that consumerist decade –Steinbach in fact has been lining up shop-bought and second-hand items (examples: Nike trainers, dog chews and boxes of soap powder) on shelves since the 1970s. He makes a terse kind of post-pop Proustian poetry that taps into the way objects stimulate memory and desire.
How much do you like shelves? The Serpentine Gallery does. They’ve staged not one but two exhibitions largely concerned with shelves and the things we put on them. At the original Serpentine Gallery, Israeli-American artist Haim Steinbach has filled the space with found objects, elegantly displayed on a range of shelving units.
Alongside his minimalist square paintings from the 1970s, Once Again The World Is Flat explores our fascination with collecting and displaying objects. As well as inviting other institutions to submit items from their collections, visitors to the gallery are invited to bring their salt-and-pepper shakers to join the display. So you could recreate the experience by rooting through the kitchenware department at John Lewis.
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