For nearly fifty years, B. Wurtz has used found objects to create idiosyncratic assemblages relating to basic human needs: food, clothing, or shelter. Wurtz’s arrangements are characteristically made from simple utilitarian objects, such as plastic bags, tin cans, shoelaces, food carriers, and pieces of wood, wire, and more, that form small-scale or delicate three-dimensional works. On September 17, the artist will give a rare public lecture at The New School’s Tishman Auditorium to accompany his debut outdoor exhibition Kitchen Trees, presented by Public Art Fund at City Hall Park through December 7, 2018. The artist’s talk will be followed by a conversation with Public Art Fund Associate Curator Daniel S. Palmer about the expansion of his practice into the public realm, where it has grown to monumental scale for the first time.
In his five new sculptures for Kitchen Trees, Wurtz has stacked colorful colanders atop one another forming bulbous trunks that seem as if they could grow into endless columns. At the top of each trunk, spindly branches sprout upward before seemingly drooping downward, bearing pots and pans. Swaying in the breeze with a weightlessness, they’re balanced by overflowing plastic fruits and vegetables that dangle as if spilled from cookware cornucopias. Similar to his more domestically-scaled works, these massive sculptures are assembled to suggest a composition that hovers between precarious fragility and formal monumentality. Kitchen Trees demonstrate a genuine appreciation for the value and beauty of ordinary things and helps us see the extraordinary possibilities of our everyday surroundings.
The New School, Tishman Auditorium
63 Fifth Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets
About the Artist
B. Wurtz (b. 1948 in Pasadena, California) lives and works in New York. In 2015, he was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK. In 2016, the exhibition traveled to La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain. He has had additional solo exhibitions at Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany (2015); White Flag Projects, St. Louis, Missouri (2012); and Gallery 400, University of Illinois at Chicago (2000). His work has been included in group exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York (2004); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois (2011); and Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, France (2009).