New York

What's On in '03: New York's commercial galleries

Nancy Shaver's painted sculpture at Feature Inc. and James Castle's "Structures" at Knoedler & Co.


As tasty as Melotti’s rich doodles are the colourful wooden box constructions of Nancy Shaver, self-contained ice cream empires built from the patchiest and roughest elements, the most basic tools (4 January-8 February). Some might refer to Cornell, Ivan Pouni, Tuttle again or the “Structures” of James Castle which are concurrently on show at Knoedler & Company (until 18 January). In fact, Castle’s cardboard, layered objects conspire with Shaver to make a perfect pairing of extremely tactile, textured miniatures hand-built for their own sake. Shaver’s boxes, hung on the wall, have all the random character of those accidental compositions spied en passant on the pavement, but are also carefully, cunningly composed within the tough limits of their small frame (below, “Yellow partition, 2001”). This is the sort of art which calls forth that envious admittance “I could do that myself” and best of all they make no assumptions otherwise. Like any DIY punk band they boldly suggest one should go out oneself and rescue that clementine crate, get out the gouache and go to work, test the limits of your own creativity. The difference is Shaver has already done it, casually, seemingly accidentally, just like that, and her results have all the gutsy bravado of such faux-amateurism.

Originally appeared as 'New York: commercial galleries chosen by Adrian Dannatt'