Günther Uecker (German, b. 1930) is a sculptor, op and installation artist, known for his relief nail works first developed in 1957. His three-dimensional work creates a unique experience as it appears to move and cast different lighting effects as the viewer moves around the work. In 1961, Uecker became a member of the group of artists called ZERO, founded by Heinz Mack and Otto Piene. Inspired by the Kinetic Art movement, the collective grounded their philosophy on theories of light, technology, and optical illusion. Uecker also produces sculptures of pianos and chairs with nails sticking out of them, and he creates sets and costumes for opera performances.
West German artist Natascha Sadr Haghighian (b. 1968) investigates modes of perception and the politics of representation in an expansive conceptual practice that includes performance, writing, video, installation and online projects. She is particularly interested in the consumption of visual art – a field the artist identifies as a reflection of its wider socioeconomic context. I can’t work like this (2007) was conceived in response to a gallery’s invitation to feature her work as the sole exhibition in a commercial art fair booth; the piece was intended to mount a tacit assault on a strolling audience of potential buyers.
The work withdraws the traditional art object, at least metaphorically, and leaves only the most ubiquitous tools for art installation, including discarded hammers, a common symbol for labor. The effect is one of a casual abandonment, as though the artist simply walked away, though whether in defeat or triumph is open to interpretation. A sharp one-liner, I can’t work like this functions as an expression of the artist’s frustration at the pressures and parameters of her creative output.
Photographed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City as part of the Storylines Exhibit in 2015.
Bird (2012), is a 12-foot high, 12-foot wide, and 14-foot long sculpture, made with fifty-five hundred actual and fabricated nails in the shape of a bird. The work weighs five tons, and rests upon a nest of ninety thousand nails. Through this sculpture, Ryman changes the meaning of the nail, which is traditionally used to connect materials and build structures. By dramatically altering its scale and using it in excessive quantities, Ryman blurs the relationship between abstraction and realism. As the viewer rotates around the sculpture, Bird transitions from the shape of a bird to a nonrepresentational sculpture.
Bird will be on Display through April 21st, 2013
Flatiron Plaza Intersection of 23rd Street, 5th Avenue and Broadway, New York
I pulled this image off a website where all the text is in French. But you don’t have to understand French to know this is a photo of four Stormtrooper finger nails and their buddy Darth Vader Nail hanging out on the Ring Finger. Rad.