Irony of ironies: when the Kavi Gupta Gallery of Chicago went dark, shuttering “The Weight,” Tony Tasset’s most recent solo exhibition, it locked up the sculptures we deserve. A kitschy golden sun relief, the kind your grandma’s neighbor might hang on the side of her house, gone hideously psychotic, its pupils and teeth bursting with flames that will burn our planet up, alongside global warming. A massive black steel crow, part Ab Ex plop art, part Calder mobile gone limp, its body flattened and dying, like so many wild animals the world over. A nightmarish knot of dozens of taxidermic, plushy and rubber snakes, too many to count, as impossible to untwist as real has become from fake, reality from simulation. The head of an eagle, stern and classic, hulkingly cast in concrete, fallen over on the ground with little hope of being raised up again, like the broken country it symbolizes.
Irony of ironies: when Dallas protesters recently graffitied “NOW UC US” plus the initials of George Floyd onto Tasset’s thirty-foot tall fiberglass eyeball, they changed a trippy public sculpture into the one we need right now. Let’s hope for a day when none are necessary anymore.
—Lori Waxman 2020-06-24 6:57 PM