Going It Alone with Sculpture Series: ART NOW. This Series Showcases Artists at Work. Each Essay Is Succinct, Introductory, and Captures Art in Motion before Labels Are Applied

Article excerpt

WE FORGET what we know about sculpture when looking at Jessica Stockholder's art. At best, it doesn't apply. There are very few road signs which show us the way to what we think we can know about it. We just have to go it alone or stay home.

This is what makes her work so brave and refreshing. Sure, there is a torch of sorts being picked up and passed along here: You could go back to the beginning of the century and Marcel Duchamp with his "ready-mades." He reminded us that choice was much of what it was all about; what we choose to put in, let be, leave out. That the choice was the meaning.

And in the late '50s and early '60s and Robert Rauschenburg made assemblage art that "combined" objects with paint in a bold and jarring expression of the once raw American beauty. His works couldn't help but take issue with the social and political events of the day.

Stockholder may also use a lively, loaded brush, but her content is strictly linked to the form; the things themselves. Like Duchamp and Rauschenburg, she uses materials we don't often associate with art, some recycled and some unconventional. They become part of her vocabulary.

Stockholder also picks up the torch from artist Richard Tuttle's work in the '70s and '80s. His is the art eccentric and obscure, made with little to read or recognize. Tuttle inspired many artists by brushing aside anything in his way. It makes perfect sense that his work looked obscure; there was no real precedent for it in that the only thing he could accept was something absolutely fresh. …