Allison Lacher and Jeff Robinson have built an island surrounded on all sides by a sea of gold and surmounted by a spent volcano peaked with crusty ashen remains. Is it paradise? It’s certainly funny. It’s also in an apartment in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, a rental place with a small kitchen and no island. Kitchen islands are great—they provide extra counter space and storage, plus an out-of-the-way perch for visitors and sous-chefs. If not for the fact that this island is made of a wood frame with no top and tethered to the kitchen’s doorways with sheer ribbons that make it impossible to fully utilize said exits, the inhabitants (and curators) of the apartment would surely be pleased. Lacher and Robinson titled their installation “A Kitchen Without a Knife is Not a Kitchen,” which suggests a question about what exactly constitutes a kitchen, a charming query in the land of apartment galleries, where a medicine cabinet or second bedroom can easily become a space for displaying advanced art. The dictionary clarifies: any area in which food is prepared or cooked. No specific utensils necessary. As for an island? An island is a piece of land surrounded by water, a kitchen island is a unit that allows access from all sides. Alas, this one is anchored to the wall. Promontory, anyone?
—Lori Waxman 3/24/16 3:58 PM