Olav Westphalen: Whitney Biennial 2004 - The Weight of Dead Prey

About the Exhibition

Public Art Fund, in collaboration with the Whitney Museum, presents installations by Paul McCarthy, Liz Craft, Olav Westphalen, David Altmejd, assume vivid astro focus, David Muller and Yayoi Kusama for the 2004 Biennial Exhibition. Building upon the outdoor presentation of Biennial works in 2002, this show includes artists’ site-specific reactions to Central Park as well as several sculptural projects that were conceived independently of location. For the first time, the exhibition includes a weekend event of openings and participatory artists’ projects in the park.

Olav Westphalen’s artistic practice locates itself between the realms of art and daily life, an approach pioneered by Allan Kaprow, with whom he studied in California. Westphalen (b.1963, Hamburg, Germany) views caricature and comics as a way to challenge the “serious” traditions of art. Inspired by the spate of recent news coverage of incidents involving domesticated wild animals—tigers in particular—Westphalen’s The Weight of Dead Prey is a life-size sculpture of a ferocious tiger that reclines in a small fenced-in area alongside a path. Near the tiger are objects modeled after the toys given to large animals in captivity: balls with appendages that are literally made to approximate “the weight of dead prey.” Positioned near the entrance to the Central Park Zoo, The Weight of Dead Prey is a reminder—delivered with Westphalen’s characteristic light touch—of our double-edged need to reign in nature’s wild kingdom even as we romanticize it.



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