Curated by Tom Kotik
The sculptural works exhibited in Material Matters, Construct and Vanitas, highlight artist David Baskin’s continued engagement with contemporary consumer culture. His vibrant sculptures, which emphasize material as content, are made with industrial plastic, chrome and resins, and seek to expand our understanding of commodities and their role in shaping our daily lives.
Construct is inspired by the historical and cultural significance of marble, and the subtle messages it projects. Traditionally seen as a symbol of affluence and refined elegance, Baskin has created a series of brightly colored faux marble sculptures that transform a utilitarian architectural material into something seemingly organic and pliable. Just as producers and advertisers seek to rebrand items for new audiences over time, Construct turns convention on its head by “rebranding” marble from a symbol of tradition into a colorful pop experience.
Vanitas is a project in which Baskin uses art historical models to investigate notions of contemporary consumerism. Inspired by 17th Century Dutch Vanitas paintings (still lifes that included symbolic objects designed to remind the viewer of their mortality and the vanity of wealth and possessions), Baskin presents a unique cabinet of curiosities with items purchased in gift shops and dollar stores. He sets up a modern still life of shiny, chromed products that question our desire to accumulate ever more things in our super-charged consumer culture.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
David Baskin received his BFA from The Cooper Union, New York, in 1987. He has had solo exhibitions at Freight+Volume Gallery and Sculpture Center, both in New York; Fiendish Plots, Nebraska; Ingalls & Assoc., Miami; and Black and White Gallery, Brooklyn. Selected group exhibitions include the Brooklyn Museum of Art; Marianne Boesky Gallery, Carolina Nitsch, Carriage Trade, Pavel Zoubok Gallery, Flag Art Foundation, and Leslie Heller Gallery; all in New York; Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, NY; Triennial Design Museum, Milan, Italy; Musée de Design et d’arts Appliqués Contemporains, Lausanne, Switzerland; Galerie Erna Hecey; Brussels, Belgium; and Rudolf Budja Gallery, Vienna, Austria. Honors and awards include the MacDowell Colony Fellowship, NH; Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant; and Yaddo Fellowship, Saratoga Springs, NY. Commissioned projects include, Brookfield Properties for a lobby installation at the Grace Building and One Liberty Plaza/World Financial Center, as well as Arts in Buildings/Times Equity Inc., all in New York. Baskin has taught at the Cooper Union School of Art and New York Institute of Technology and has been a visiting critic at the School of Visual Arts (SVA), Pratt Institute, and the University of Buffalo. Baskin was one of the original members of the Brooklyn-based non-profit art organization Smack Mellon and lives and works in New York City.