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Jordan Wolfson

  • Art, Contemporary art
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

At this point there have been so many practitioners of bad-boy art that it arguably constitutes its own genre—and judging from its embrace by collectors, the style is possibly the most important one, sort of like history painting in the 19th century. Bad-boy art is conceivably unique in its ability to attract the funding necessary for off-the-charts spectacles, with Jordan Wolfson’s show being a prime example.

Wolfson’s work checks all the boxes of transgressive attitude, including a willingness to launder good taste in a tub of abjection. Here, a gap-toothed, grimacing marionette resembling a mix of Howdy Doody and Alfred E. Neuman has been scaled up to the size of a Porsche Cayenne. This oversize fantoccini is dangling by chains from an overhead gantry programmed to mop it around the floor, leaving scuff marks on its face and body. Guided by facial-recognition software, its eyes follow you around the room, fixing you with a purgatorial gaze suspended between pain and pleasure.

You’re tempted to think of Abu Ghraib until loudspeakers began to blare “When a Man Loves a Woman” as the figure is bashed repeatedly on the floor. Turns out this boy isn’t bad so much as he is vulnerable.

Written by
Howard Halle


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