I am a sucker for a good diorama, and Sebastian Bruno-Harris is a very good diorama maker indeed. Typically, he combines this skillset with an acute sense for finding objects of the hardware-store variety, plus a healthy dose of the absurd. In Model for Conspicuous Encounters, an exhibition at Chicago’s Clutch Gallery this past September, he went one further, building what might be considered a diorama inside a diorama. Clutch, a 25-inch-square gallery housed inside a purse, normally invites a social and intimate viewing experience that includes tracking down the person carrying it; due to the pandemic, the gallery is currently accessible only on Instagram. Nevertheless, a little bit of magic can still be found by (virtually) peering inside, where Bruno-Harris installed a 5-by-5-inch square of Astroturf, lit by a tiny streetlamp, surrounded by a white picket fence and blue skies. The lawn was sprinkled not with plants but torn pieces of floral-print paper, the 2-D equivalent of plastic grass. A little bit of suburbia, rendered avant-garde, and small enough to fit inside a handbag—what more could one want?
—Lori Waxman 2020-12-18 12:08 PM