If it’s at all possible to create work that acknowledges art making to be an increasingly anachronistic practice while actively engaging its formal and critical legacies, Rachel Harrison does it with great aplomb. Combining minimalist-inspired structures with consumer junk (a cheap costume wig, a maudlin kitty poster, a stack of old drywall, a giant Buddha), her hybrid forms take a conceptual wrecking ball to our expectations of sculpture, readymades, and art. In Pretty Discreet (2004), for example, the irresistible urge to discover some kind of secret logic to Harrison’s implacable mix of materials seems nearly mocked. A dilapidated latticework of scrap wood nailed together, it reveals a tiny action figure poised to climb a large section the artist has slathered in pearlescent pink paint. Tucked in another corner is a can of air freshener. Call it nonsense, or as one critic did, Kabbalistic Pop; either way, it’s wonderfully odd.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 11, 2004