gelatin, “New York Golem”

Art, Contemporary art
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

The four-man Austrian collective known as Gelatin (or sometimes Gelitin) has a bad-boy reputation for its shambolic, often debauched installations that usually seem like illustrations of the second law of thermodynamics. So it comes as no surprise, really, to find that while its latest outing initially appears to be a fairly staid—if funky—exhibition of freestanding sculptures, all is not quite what it seems.

The 40-odd gestural blobs in clay, plaster, wood and ceramic that sit atop a mad miscellany of pedestals were molded, so a gallery handout tells us, by the artists’ private parts. They formed tubular orifices—flanked by impressions of body hair and accented with viscous, milky glazes—in various works by literally fucking the material. And they made the phallic extrusions that emerge with tumescence from a number of knobby objects by shoving clay up their—well, you get the idea.

The podiums for these comically indexical lumps range from minimalist stands to an upturned bentwood chair stuck in a flowerpot. One plaster-cast number resembles a misshapen torso sporting an erection like a classical herm. The playful abjectness of the plinths make a travesty out of a modernist tradition of sculptural bases that goes back to Constantin Brâncuşi while also invoking Gelatin’s compatriot Franz West and its gallery stablemate Rachel Harrison. Juvenile and ostentatiously macho, Gelitin’s pieces are also scabrously critical: A gray ceramic dick sticking up from a multicolored, snakelike column flips the bird at just about everyone.

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