Arlene Shechet’s earthly interventions into 130 pieces produced by the Royal Meissen manufactory from the renowned Arnhold Collection brilliantly and imaginatively update a venerable collection without cheapening either tradition or the new. Shechet, who made the ten sculptures included among the Meissen originals during a residencies at the manufactory, energizes and synchronizes the rational eighteenth century and the multimedia, multifaceted present. Her Dancing Girl with Two Right Feet (2012) is an absurd object. The dancer’s two white legs and red feet stick out from a tutu in an ungainly pose, as confounding as a Degas figure awkwardly emerging from a tub. It helps highlight the ridiculous charm of Meissen’s Cruet and Mustard Pot (1737–39), with two flirty women perched on roosters. Shechet’s works twist porcelain in unexpected directions, inverting ideas about how objects should appear and perform. —Barbara MacAdam
Pictured: Arlene Shechet: Dancing Girl with Two Right Feet, 2012, Meissen porcelain with gold, 10â? inches. © Arlene Shechet. Courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York. Photo Jason Wyche.
It’s difficult not to think of Ken Price when meandering among Arlene Shechet’s delightfully blobby, and at times architectonic, ceramic sculptures. Each of the 14 pieces in “Slip” is perched on a wood, concrete or steel plinth, lifting the mottled, glazed vessels up to a human scale.