On View

‘Erika Vogt: Stranger Debris Roll Roll Roll’ at the New Museum

Installation view. (Photo by Benoit Pailley/New Museum)

Installation view. (Photo by Benoit Pailley/New Museum)

Los Angeles artist Erika Vogt’s first-ever solo museum show, organized by associate curator Jenny Moore and assistant curator Margot Norton, is one of the trickier, more oblique institutional outings of the year, but it rewards committed attention. She has cast a variety of objects—a metal sphere, a measuring stick, a bell and other less-identifiable industrial-looking items—with plaster and suspended them one by one from the ceiling with rope and a pulley. Walking around the floating objects and within the crisscrossing lines may make you feel ever so slightly topsy-turvy, like you’re sauntering through a hijacked Fred Sandback sculpture or even the gravity-free world of a late Philip Guston painting. Five video screens on the floor complicate the story, with rapid-fire shots of U.S. currency and various objects, some in the show. Ms. Vogt is offering up an intentionally garbled message that seems to question the legibility and function of objects. How do we know what a thing is? How do we know the limits of its uses? As the economy—and just about everything else—moves from the industrial to the digital, these physical tools look ever stranger. They become questions with some political heft. It’s a tough path to follow, but you get the sense that she’s clearing a way. (Through Sept. 8)

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