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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Pulse Picks, or Good Things Come in Threes

If Pulse is going to grow in the future, it needs to define a more clear niche for itself.

The Armory Show is, well, the gold standard of the New York fairs. (And it knows it.) Scope, while growing and featuring pricier work every year, has kept its funky vibe by pushing its focus on emerging artists. Pulse suffered this year from not looking different enough from the Armory Show and from not generating the buzz on-site that Scope did.

But an afternoon spent there wasn't a complete loss. Pulse provided a chance to catch up with three blogging gallerists (one, two, three), and it gave me a look at work by three interesting artists.

Dario Robleto, Fatalism Sutures to a Memory (A Melody), 2003. Photo courtesy Inman Gallery, Houston.Inman Gallery of Houston was featuring two pieces by native Texan Dario Robleto. I first started following Robleto's work a few years ago and regret that I didn't purchase a piece back then because he's pretty much moved out of my price range since appearing in the 2004 Whitney Biennial.

I especially liked his small piece (at right) from 2003 entitled Fatalism Sutures to a Memory (A Melody). What has always attracted me to Robleto's practice is the way he works as an alchemist--selecting and transforming charged materials in a way that gives them further power. The gallery lists the materials of this piece--a violin string in a box--as follows:

Box: Cast and carved bone dust from every bone in the body, carbon, sulfur, dirt from battlefields, diatomaceous earth, typeset

Violin string: Cast from re-melted bullet lead salvaged from battlefields of every American war, cold cast zinc, nickel and steel, water extendable resin, wax paper, typeset
It makes me wonder what, exactly, the string would sound like if it were strung and plucked.

Robleto will be featured in a New York solo show at D'Amelio Terras when they open their new space in May. The work he's preparing for this show is supposed to be more "feminine." I'm curious to see what, exactly, that means.

Frank Breuer, Untitled (1349 Lexington), 2004.DCKT was showing a small piece by Isidro Blasco that caught my eye. The sculpted photo collage of an urban plaza felt right in its combination of form, scale, and subject matter. When I mentioned that I thought it was a piece I could see myself living with, I was told that I was out of luck. It had already been sold.

Fiedler Contemporary from Cologne was showing work of Cologne resident Frank Breuer. Conceptually, Breuer's work is completely derivative of what Bernd and Hilla Becher have spent decades doing, but for some reason that doesn't seem to be a detriment.

Breuer's small, diasec-mounted color images of telephone poles (one untitled example at right) are compelling. The milky, washed out sky behind each of these elements of the suburban landscape gives a dignity to the objects--granting remarkable presence to pieces of infrastructure that appear as nothing but ugly when glimpsed in passing from a moving automobile.



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