Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fred Tomaselli: Collage

It's time for another Whitney Biennial this year-- its 75th installment. Let the games begin! It's practically a sport in art history circles to predict the content of each show-- with guest curators picking a who's who of contemporary artists, it sets the tone for the art industry-- well at least for the next two years. I remember going through the 1987 biennial with art critic Donald Kuspit, who said it was the year of the 'neo'-- neo-classical, neo-conceptual, neo-ugly. Then there were the politically correct years, where everyone was busy being disenfranchised, followed by the conceptual years-- the chewed bubble gum sculptures, broken glass, barking dogs, naked folks, etc... I always walk away remembering one piece above all. Matthew Barney's photos, Tony Orsler's media sculptures, the light room installation, and this find from a few biennials ago, Fred Tomaselli. With a current show in Chelsea of embroideries, Tomaselli's work defies labels. His large scale collages of body parts, birds, flowers, and insects set in resin had a profound effect on me-- like a modern day Hieronymous Bosch. Keep your eyes open for news about this year's exhibition, which opens this February. Who knows whose work you'll discover?

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