February 9 – April 6, 2019
No two people are exactly the same. We are all shapes, sizes and colors. So, it comes as no surprise that an exhibition at Jeffrey Deitch entitled People would be a smorgasbord of styles, attitudes and materials created by artists young and old, famous and not. More than fifty sculptures, mostly freestanding and facing forward like soldiers in a line, confront viewers upon entry. The works range from the abstract to the representational: Some are assemblage, created from found objects; others are cast or created from bronze; and one even contains a performative element with living figures.
Moving through the exhibit, it is impossible not to think about the trajectory of art history, the different disciplines artists use and their perspectives on creating. The inclusion of Duane Hanson comes as no surprise. Cheerleader, 1988 is a realistic rendition of a cheerleader rooted in a specific time period— as her hair and uniform attest. Luis Flores‘ figure, Guns, 2018, is a self-portrait dressed in jeans and a t-shirt whose bearded head and gesticulating arms are knit from yarn. Rachel Feinstein‘s colorful Feathers, 2018, is a dark-haired woman in neon green pumps and a day-glow pink bikini.
Her seductive posturing can be seen in contrast to Karon Davis‘ Nobody, 2019, an unpainted white plaster cast sculpture of two men positioned back to back; one in a Shriner’s cap the other in a top hat. Nick Cave‘s Sound Suit, 2015, is a mixed- media sculpture in which vintage toys and globes surround the lavishly dressed mannequin. Austin Lee‘s Walk, 2019 is a red, blue and yellow smiley face cartoon figure greeting viewers upon entry. It is flanked by more somber works such as John Ahearn‘s Noel and Blondie at East 100th Street, (1996-1998), a representational sculpture of a mother holding onto her child as he tries to run away.
Even Holloway is represented by 13 Vertical, 2018 a stack of heads with light bulb noses. Liz Craft delights with Spider Woman (Maggie with Plaid Pants), 2019, a sculpture of a female figure whose arm extends into a spider web across the wall. Barry McGee‘s, Untitled (5 tagger Installation), 2005 is a mixed media work depicting a human tower of five taggers on each other’s shoulders so as to be able to spray their graffiti toward the gallery ceiling.
The list of included artist reads like a recap of who has been shown in galleries and museums of contemporary art over the last 30 years: Jeff Koons, Paul McCarthy, Kiki Smith, Urs Fischer, Rubi Neri, Fred Wilson, Isa Genzken, Alex Israel, Thomas Houseago and Ashley Bickerton, for example. The lesser knowns pack as much of a punch, and one of the pleasures of the exhibition is happening upon a work and not necessarily knowing who made it, but appreciating it for what it communicates in the context of the group. People celebrates others, the weird, the unconventional and the confrontational. It suggests all human beings with their varied identities cannot be thought of as any one thing.
Images courtesy of Jeffrey Deitch