Blurring the Boundaries of Form and Function at Allan Stone Projects
Like other Assemblage artists of the 1950s and ’60s, New York artist Dan Basen responded to the effects of mass production through his use of manufactured items in boxed constructions and ordered compositions. His work preempts contemporary concerns about the cataloguing of objects in art, encasing useful tools within cases—their function beyond reach—recalling French peer Arman’s object vitrines. Matchsticks are placed into regular grids, for example, away from any possibility of ignition. Basen also created mixed media collages that configure commercial packaging into new forms with a Pop Art aesthetic, such as Hershey’s (1963), and bright paint patches into charts whose shapes remain slightly off-kilter. Over the course of his brief life, Basen sought to create a reassuring order within a world of chaos.
American, 1939-1970, Poughkeepsie, New York