On the late Franz West’s Sitzwuste sculpture-benches at the Walker Art Center:
9 months ago
…[S]ome observers see the shape as more… biological. Frieze‘s Jan Verwoert, for instance, describes the “primal shape” as “a cross between a worm, a dildo and a turd.”
He’s not off the mark with that last one, according to Walker assistant curator Bartholomew Ryan, who collaborated on the reinstallation of Sitzwuste with curator Betsy Carpenter.
“That is certainly one way to think of them,” he says. “When installing the pieces, I was kind of thinking of a giant dog walking over the field leaving things behind without regard for aesthetic concerns as to placement.”
“Having said that, there is some strategy there, which will become obvious to people who view the works from inside the Fiterman lobby, where they are framed by a very open curtain window,” he continued. “That dynamic relationship between inside and outside is an important feature of the Herzog & de Meuron expansion, and I think we pursue it well here. What I like about these works is how responsive they are to environment. I am looking forward to seeing them change with the snow, and then the spring and summer. Let’s not forget also, people can sit on them. They are actually pretty comfortable.”
“Thinking about places to put your butt,” says Walker chief curator Darsie Alexander, “has been an instrumentalizing force in his art, which makes the scatological references even more relevant.”