Art In America

Tony Conrad, Senga Nengudi, Toshiko Takaezu

at Essex Street,
114 Eldridge Street

This three-person show at Essex Street features artists who came of age in the heyday of Minimalism, yet veered from its pristine aesthetic to engage craft, duration and notions of identity. The resulting works are nonetheless elegant. Tony Conrad's luminous "Yellow TV" series of 1973 features golden rectangles of cheap paint that, like the shapes marked out in his "Yellow Movies" series, will become yellower over time. Toshiko Takaezu's giant pinch pots, which forge connections with the Peter Voulkos school of performative craft, contain pieces of broken-off ceramic that pleasingly rattle when rocked. (Beware: they're not participatory works, but this viewer was lucky to receive a demonstration.) Senga Nengudi's vulnerable, evocative sculptures marry bodily forms with industrial materials, like Rubber Maid (2011), pictured here, with saggy breastlike forms created from nylon stockings hung from a scrap of patched tire.

 

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