Magazine article Artforum International

Win Knowlton

Magazine article Artforum International

Win Knowlton

Article excerpt

Since his second solo show featuring witty, Giacometti-esque floor pieces and fetishes (part of Moma's "Projects" series), Win Knowlton has played off the work of disparate artists - including Isamu Noguchi, David Smith, Eva Hesse, and Richard Serra - almost as if he were betting against the odds that he could keep up something distinctively "Knowlton" in his work. What can't be shaken off turns out to be a quiet sense of humor: upending and fudging homages, Knowlton's work seems to chuckle as much at its self-imposed game of catch-up as at the bad joke that the numbingly wide range of esthetic options in the "postmodern" era has become.

Knowlton's most recent show amounts to yet another departure in style, but one that differs from the rest in that it falls outside his usual penchant for referencing other work and into an elegant, quietly authoritative realm of his own. Entitled trees, 1994-95, the piece, a stand of 32 birchlike plaster columns tapering upward from cinder-block bases to the ceiling where shims braced them, was intended by Knowlton to be regarded as a single work of sculpture rather than an installation - a distinction necessitated as much by the current fashion for installations as by the fact that trees all but filled the studio apartment-sized space of the gallery (a constraint that worked fully to the work's advantage). …

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