History Works

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© Courtesy of the artist & Triple Canopy
History Works

178 Norfolk Street
10002 New York
April 14th, 2013 - April 25th, 2013
Opening: April 14th, 2013 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Wed-Sun 11-6
photography, video-art, sculpture


Bureau is pleased to announce “History Works,” an exhibition of sculptures and photographs by B. Wurtz in collaboration with Triple Canopy. Since the early 1970s, Wurtz has exploited the sculptural potential of everyday objects. Incorporating such common household items as shoelaces, plastic bags, and socks into his artwork, Wurtz recalls the familiar language of the objet trouvé but with distinctive buoyancy and humor. While his works often read as simply stated facts, this directness belies the sophisticated language of objects, and our complicated relationship to even the most modest among them. Wurtz’s work often invites comparison between things: art to non-art, the mass-produced to the handmade, and, in the case of this exhibition, a photograph to the object it represents.

“History Works” consists of three new sculptures, each paired with a photograph that distorts the scale of the object or confounds perspective, echoing the artist’s seminal Photo/Object series. These works will be accompanied by what Wurtz calls a “family of objects” collected or created by him over the decades: a rubber-band ball, a cat toy, and three objects forged by Wurtz as a child—a crude model of Mission Santa Barbara, a wooden skyscraper, and a miniscule human head. The sculptures that comprise “History Works” are inspired by these objects and their stories.

For the past several months, Wurtz has collaborated with Triple Canopy on the development of “History Works,” including an iteration of the project to be published in Triple Canopy’s online magazine in April. The online publication further advances the logic of the photographs, representing the sculptures and objects—however incompletely, or inaccurately—with digital tools, rendering them unfamiliar, embedding them in alternative visual narratives. The magazine iteration of “History Works” will also include video work made by Wurtz when he was a graduate student at California Institute of the Arts, and rarely shown publicly.

Late hours and reading by poet Ben Estes:
Sunday, April 21, 6–8 p.m.