Here and Gone

The need to try his hand at the big exhibition or to have New York know how important he is may have led him to this place. Orozco, the master of understatement and invocation, has overshot his mark in ways that recall another artist who, perhaps out of sheer fear, overdid his last New York exhibition: Damien Hirst. To his supporters, Orozco is the anti-Damien. Hirst is brash, Orozco is eloquent. Where Hirst is everywhere, Orozco is a spectral shadow artist: here and gone. One is a pure showman, the other, supposedly, pure. But now Orozco is presenting too many small ideas. This show is so chockablock with stuff it suggests desperation or worse, hubris—that he's playing to the courts of power or that he has simply given in to the convention of the exhibition.


Gabriel Orozco
Marian Goodman Gallery
24 West 57th Street
Through January 16

Maybe Orozco was right the first time: he is better in smaller, less spelled-out, less defined doses. It wasn't that he didn't care, it was that he cared so much he was willing to look for other ways to make exhibitions. Those yogurt caps alluded to things: to emptiness, presence, the white cube, consumer culture, and the letter O, but they never said anything. That is what was so inspired about them. After the first gallery, the best thing in this show is the quiet recorded sound of Orozco playing the piano in the background. It permeates the space, soothes it, unifies it, and gives substance to his agile imagination. It reveals him gently making, looking, experimenting. Originally, Orozco seemed to suggest he wanted his art to move beyond the format of exhibitions, which was tantalizing, but this show does the opposite. It's ready for consumption. He should stick to his guns. It's riskier, but it's what he does best.

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