Chicken and Eggs

When asked in an interview what he thought of recycling, the sculptor B. Wurtz replied earnestly, "I wish I could take my egg carton to the store and have them refill it with eggs." His rickety conglomerations recycle what the rest of us view as trash—mesh fruit sacks and wood scavenged from the streets, those ubiquitous plastic grocery bags, objects that barely register at all—into surpassingly delicate sculptures. Are the gathered, dark-red topknots of a net bag innately beautiful? Or do these scraps of detritus rely on Wurtz's discerning eye to unlock their potential, like Miche langelo's figures awaiting their release from marble blocks? One five-foot-high piece feels like a sad-sack bivouac: A plastic shopping bag, absurdly printed in camouflage, is hung above two bags patterned with vertical stripes, one red, the other blue, tenuously anchored to weathered boards by thick wire and clothespins. This pathetic campsite, all gossamer plastic gently flailing in the air conditioner currents, is touchingly beautiful, a fragile transmutation of civilization's most prosaic trappings into something elusive yet satisfying.

Stuart Hawkins

As our popular culture washes over the globe like a kitsch tsunami, Hawkins surfs the wave to Nepal, where she takes photos and videos of herself desperately seeking the authentic "other" of faraway lands. But the anthropological quest of this tall, somewhat ungainly white girl keeps running into Nike swooshes, Coca-Cola cans, and natives in Leonardo DiCaprio T-shirts. The cultural disconnect continues in a photo where she is carried in a large basket on the back of a local; enclosed by faux wings, she seems in an ecstatic swoon, a platform shoe dangling from her big toe as a liveried driver opens the rear door of a waiting low-rent limo while a sextet, heavy on brass and percussion, serenades her. In another shot, she presents panty-clad buttocks covered by diaphanous sweats as she bends down before a dark-skinned youth holding a drink tray. Is she servicing the servant, or is this earnest emissary of Western empathy oblivious to the help as she concentrates on body sculpting? Zach Feuer, 530 W 24th, 212-989-7700. Through Sept 23.

Plastic fantastic
photo: Christopher Burke Studio/Courtesy Feature Inc.
Plastic fantastic

Details

B. Wurtz
Feature Inc.
530 West 25th Street
Through September 23

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