If you’re paying attention here, then you might recognize the above Pentagram Hedge as a work by artist Joseph Grazi, from his exhibit, God Complex, which we reviewed here on The Gig last month. But the Pentagram Hedge is such a marvelous thing, that it deserves an encore appearance. Because, Pentagram Hedge.
If you love Skulls and Taxidermy Bats as much as I do, you will flip out over NYC-based artist Joseph Grazi’s new collection of sculptures and drawings, God Complex, up for just three short weeks at Joseph Gross Gallery. Seriously, it is pretty awesome.
According to the shows official press release, these artworks, “illustrate man’s increasing dominion over the natural world. With the human brain being the most complex structure existing in the known universe, we have been given the ability to manipulate the environment as we please and, ultimately, bend nature itself to our insatiable needs.” I can’t say that I disagree with that statement.
As Grazi frequently points out, “nature has been tamed and the animals that once posed threats to us are now predominantly under control. In addition, we can rearrange and re-engineer our bodies, create new species, and explore other planets. This capacity, along with the eradication of our former enemies and fears, can have a subconscious calming effect.”
Grazi’s new work revolves around the often inconsistent and irrational relationship that we have developed with nature over time, and how are new technologies have begun to give us godlike dominion over the planet and its animal inhabitants. It is through the realizations of these new powers that the artist hopes to lead to a more aware and responsible approach to managing and maintaining the kingdom of Earth.
Joseph was present at last week’s opening reception and, let me tell you, he is not only extremely easy on the eyes, but also could not possibly have been nicer to Geoffrey and me as we chewed his ear of about how rad his art is. I asked Joseph where he gets the bats he uses in his sculptures, and I think he said he gets them from various taxidermist sources, but who knows. He is so hot, it was hard for me to pay attention to what he was saying. Just kidding. Sort of. Not really.
Joseph Grazi’s God Complex will be on Exhibit Through May 2nd, 2015 at Joseph Gross Gallery, Located at 548 West 28th Street, Suite 232, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout is a site-specific installation by Dan Graham which was installed in April of this year. Comprising curves of steel and two-way mirrored glass set between ivy hedgerows, Graham’s structure is part garden maze, part modernist skyscraper facade. Viewers who enter the work are transformed into performers; in glimpsing their own reflections, they are also made acutely aware of the act of looking.
For the past fifty years Graham has engaged his interest in architecture and the way it structures public space through a multidisciplinary practice encompassing writing, photography, video, performance, and—beginning in the 1970s—sculptural environments of mirrored glass and metal. He calls these hybrid structures “pavilions” after the ornamental buildings that decorate seventeenth- and eighteenth-century formal gardens—architectural fantasies inspired by the ruins of classical antiquity.
Graham’s pavilions similarly invite romance or play, but their forms and materials have a more contemporary source: the gleaming glass facades of modern office towers. For the artist, the mirrored cladding of a corporate headquarters symbolizes economic power and sleek efficiency and also provides camouflage, reflecting the world around it as it shields what happens inside from prying eyes.
The artist’s pavilions likewise respond to their specific sites. The Roof Garden, where the idyllic expanse of Central Park confronts the tall buildings of midtown Manhattan, is both of the city and at a certain remove from it. The evergreen plantings that edge the parapets also remind Graham of the shrubbery that often demarcates property lines in the New Jersey suburbs of his youth.
His Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout, set within a specially engineered terrain designed in collaboration with the Swiss landscape architect Günther Vogt (born 1957, Balzers, Liechtenstein), employs these multilayered references—palace gardens, public parks, contemporary corporate architecture, and the suburban lawn—as it engages the viewer in a historic and complex mirror play.
The Roof Garden Commission, Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout By Dan Graham with Günther Vogt will be on Exhibit Through November 2nd, 2014. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is Located at 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street) in NYC.