“System 4, Hummingbird”, by Richard Tuttle

Notes from a few days in New York City: Richard Tuttle’s current show at Pace Gallery, What’s the Wind, consists of significantly larger scale works than his show at Sperone Westwater in June of 2007. (I wrote about it here.) Intimate and miniaturized, the wall pieces have now been scaled out into spacious floor pieces that stand face to face with the viewer. The hunkered down, focused viewing that his smaller works demand is not at play with these pieces. They are more conversational, more brazenly self-satisfied. The unexpected materials, the infinitely resourceful juxtapositions, the fresh view of common objects—all aspects that have come to signify Tuttle’s work—are at play in these pieces. But as any artist knows, scale shifts everything. The experience of these pieces is very different, and some of my companions were not enamored by these large and somewhat gawkish works. But if you have been Tuttled and already laid claim to his vision as one you respect and respond to—as I have—then these pieces are just more of his inimitable visual language.

“System 1, Cheap Face”

As a point of contrast: Tuttle’s last show at Sperone Westwater in 2007: Micro-sized wall pieces

Also on view—and another example of a shift in scale—is Louise Bourgeois at Cheim & Read. This show, The Fabric Works, presents the soft, delicate underbelly of a artist better known for her muscular and often aggressive sculptures. These exist in another time continuum from the one that holds her 30 foot high, predatory spider sculpture “Maman”. These delicately stitched, hand assembled miniatures are quiet, meditative, almost relishing their passivity. But experiencing this more tender, patient, pliant side of the feisty Bourgeois are a viewfinder into an artist of intense complexity, one who was multifaceted and relentlessly expressive.

Small-sized intimacy from Louise Bourgeois