Stuff and Things

Karen Kedmey
Mar 31, 2013 10:52PM

For the past week, New York has been made even more exuberant by the convergence of projects by two masters of the castoff: El Anatsui and Nick Cave. Cave's whimsical dancing horses swished and whirled at Grand Central, while Anatsui's majestic metal tapestries are setting alight the galleries of the Brooklyn Museum and the buildings beside the High Line.

So much has been written about these two long working, recently famous artists, lauded for their magnificent assemblages of stuff that other people have thrown or given away. Anatsui uses the metal caps and labels from liquor bottles; Cave uses, it seems, whatever he can get his hands on at second-hand shops. Naturally, all of these materials come loaded with their unique histories of use and cultural references, which both Cave and Anatsui capitalize upon in intelligent and surprising ways.

But I would like to leave context and wall text aside here. When I am standing in front of Anatsui's sculpture-tapestries and Cave's "Soundsuits," as I recently had the pleasure of doing, I am bowled over by their beauty. Intellection can come later, in the afterglow of these bright and wonderful works, whose disarming, funky gorgeousness needs no words to describe.

Karen Kedmey