Al Taylor: Haunch of Venison

By Reust, Hans Rudolf | Artforum International, Summer 2006 | Go to article overview

Al Taylor: Haunch of Venison


Reust, Hans Rudolf, Artforum International


I vividly remember spending hours looking out the window of Al Taylor's studio in Manhattan at the corner of Twentieth Street and Park Avenue. It was a privileged view. There was always a lot going on at the colorful intersection--a constant stream of traffic and sudden, surprising movements in the wild exchange of people and cars. One's vision became gradually more contemplative, as the easy conversation started to take on its own improvisational rules, veering between logic and free association. Taylor died in 1999. What remain are the meandering traces of his thought and observations.

This show brought together a comprehensive group of sixty-four drawings ("Puddles") and six sculptures ("Hanging Puddles") made between 1990 and 1992. The view from above becomes a vista on paper: Puddles, ponds, pools, rivulets--whether left behind on the sidewalk by peeing dogs or by the rain, they were sketched and persistently transformed. The puddle sculptures hang freely in space: Standing water becomes an event in three dimensions. In thin, black strips of hot-rolled steel, somewhat awkwardly bent, the hooks, loops, openings, and lines flow freely and with a playful ease through the space, attached to the ceiling with simply twisted wires. Bricolage combines with elegance in these lassos suspended in space, where they can be observed from all sides. Seen from a distance, the sculptures might appear to be just lines finely drawn on the wall itself. The Zurich show played subtly and unobtrusively with the alternation of views between clarity and labyrinthine tanglings. …

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