Notorious for providing preparators with exacting directions for installing his work, Haim Steinbach is a 40-year veteran of controlled contextualization, presenting found objects according to his own stringent aesthetic laws. Making use of distinctive hand-built shelves and boxes, Steinbach is so adept at isolating and juxtaposing commonplace objects that they often end up feeling like the products of an alien civilization, as functionless and weirdly untouchable as a Jeff Koons balloon dog. Also similar to Koons’s style, intense, artificial color plays an important role in Steinbach’s work.
Two facing walls in the first-floor gallery are occupied by cases containing metal boxes imprinted with hues from the Pantone system. Other walls are painted with rectangles of colors from the same list or its equivalents. Some are labeled with their names and/or Pantone numbers; the rest are paired with images such as the logo from The Lion King or elliptical texts like omaobamaoldsmobile. The show also includes Steinbach’s signature shelf arrangements stocked with items, each referencing colors from the mentioned pieces while seeming as untethered from meaning as ever. Steinbach here effectively turns the gallery into a laboratory to deconstruct and reconstitute the world color by color, bit by bit.