Magazine article Sculpture

Kinderhook, New York

Magazine article Sculpture

Kinderhook, New York

Article excerpt

Kinderhook, new York El Anatsui The School

Gallerist jack Shainman's outpost of culture in upstate New York did a terrific job of exhibiting 50 years of work bythe Ghana-born, Nigeriabased artist El Anatsui. Now in his 70s, he has had a long, prolific career fashioning shimmering panels out of bottle caps linked to each other with copper wire. After beginning his artistic career as a good painter, El Anatsui is now known as a remarkable sculptor. Early on, he worked with African ceramics. The changes that he made to existing ceramic masks signified a willingness to combine his personal cultural past, understood at least partly as colonized, with what amounts to a visionary reification of Western insights into abstraction.

The School's renovated space, now a year old, shows just how novel and ambitious a gallerist Shainman has become. Redone bythe late Spanish architect Antonio Jimenez Torrecillas, the former high school is a model of late-Modernist interior design. El Anatsui's large-scale works were spectacularly exhibited in a central room with high ceilings. Tiled Flower Garden (2012), a huge floor piece of linked bottle caps, curved around another sculpture, giving every appearance of transcending decoration to exist as part of nature-this despite the metallic caps.

Stressed World (2011), a very large work made offound aluminum and copper wire, hung from the far wall of the main room. Colorful in the extreme, the aluminum reflected red, yellow, and green among other hues. El Anatsui has a commanding comprehension of low relief and fully three-dimensional design. …

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