For ‘Flash Art’ magazine
Two days before ‘Penetration” was due to open, Maurizio Cattelan walked into Friedrich Petzel Gallery, took a look at the installation, and pulled his artwork out of the show. Happily, this was an enthusiastic endorsement; he replaced his planned contribution with a sought after installation of two miniature-scale elevators. While Cattelan dug into the gallery wall, Sarah Sze built an elaborate installation around a hole punctured in the floor between the two neighboring galleries.
Grow or Die stretched from the ceiling of Boesky Gallery, through to the front desk of Petzel below, and was curator Mark Fletcher’s starting point for a show that dug deep into various means of architectural, intellectual, and bodily penetration. A silkscreen of a gun by Andy Warhol and Bruce Nauman’s Double Poke in the Eye II in neon tubing warned of violent bodily invasion. History’s most iconic piercing was captured by Mat Collishaw’s Shakin’ Jesus, a projection of a man with pierced side twitching on a cross. A videotaped performance from 1999, in which John Bock squeezed his body through a series of small rooms, eventually popping out into Anton Kern’s gallery space complemented Gregor Schneider’s Haus Ur, a trip through the underbelly of a house constructed within a house. Entangled couples by Sigmar Polke and Jeff Koons appeared alongside a Louise Bourgeouis sculpture of interlocking pink rectangles inset with blue orifices and Douglas Gordon’s video Blue in which a pair of hands engage in suggestive gestures. “Penetration” is an enjoyable probe into a theme with multiple interpretations, and it invites comparisons between artworks that otherwise might never have shared a gallery space.