Sarah Sze Solo Exhibition

by Liz on September 19, 2010

in Art & Design

Gallery-goers rendered speechless by Sarah Sze's installation at Tanya Bonakdar gallery

Chinese-American Sarah Sze is a site-specific installation artist who arranges everyday objects in unexpected ways. She guides the viewer to re-examine the mundane paraphernalia that surrounds and engulfs our personal space. Q-tips, toothpicks, plastic containers, electrical wires, no object is too common for Sze to upcycle into one of her critically acclaimed works of art.

My favorite part of visiting Sze’s works at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery was watching viewer reactions to her pervasive installations. Some seemed pleasantly surprised, others remained seriously baffled. That’s probably because her pieces often trailed into a larger structure, only to retreat indefinitely into the blank canvas of the gallery. No beginning, no end. So many grey areas, even I was scolded at one point for stepping on her art: a few dead leaves outside the perimeter of her installation. Yes, art is everywhere, Sze ‘s arrangments proclaimed. We just have to look for it.

Dead bonsai. Fan blows. Fall is almost here.


Another vantage point of the untitled work on the ground floor.


Portable Planetarium. Not exactly portable, but very cool nonetheless.


Details of Portable Planetarium.


Details of Portable Planetarium. Also my first encounter with an overhead projector in over 15 years.


Either a bird house with a fire escape or a feature for Dwell magazine.

Sarah Sze Solo Exhibition is on view at the Tanya Bonakdar gallery from September 16 to October 23. It’s definitely worth a look.



You may have noticed that I’ve been on an art run lately — blogging about Asian contemporary artists whose presence in New York is remarkably ubiquitous. It’s also gallery season in the city, something I discovered here, which means an outpouring of talent in every gallery in Chelsea (come for the art! stay for the champagne!). What’s not to indulge?

Do Ho Suh has become something of a household name in international art circuits. In the past, he’s used a variety of media, including military dog tags and nylon mesh, to evoke the biographical while creating some of the most unforgettable art created in the last 15 years. So imagine my surprise, and slight disappointment, to discover Suh’s new project at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, a sliver of space in Soho. No dramatic installations, no diminutive rubber people holding up heavy plates of glass. Was Suh’s fun days coming to an end?

Suh, it turns out, is a little homesick. Well, maybe not homesick, but trying to reconcile the dichotomy of his life. Suh was born in Korea and studied art in both Korea and the United States. He has studios in New York and Seoul. He probably speaks both Korean and English. I could go on, but the moral of the story is, he’s walking a tight rope between cultures, and dare I say, universes.

Which is why it’s only logical his perfect home would be situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a solitary outpost smack dab at the center of his imagination. For two years, his imagination has led him and a team of researchers, architects, and designers to create four bridges to connect Seoul and New York. The video shows how the bridges would criss-cross between the two cities:

3D rendition of the undulating bridge support:

Each design factors in specific environmental and oceanographic conditions: ocean current, tide, wind, and temperature, as well as political conditions on the Korean peninsula. That basically means staying away from zones of missile testing.

Rough sketches of Suh’s proposed bridge support. Suh’s notes roughly translate to
How will the bridge stay in place?
Method 1. Completely affix the bridge to the bottom of the ocean bed. A bridge strong enough to withstand hurricanes, tide, wind, and rain.
Method 2. A bridge that floats on the ocean. Will need capacity to always stay on the surface of the water.

My favorites were these sketches of the bridge’s propulsion system, reminiscent of Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawings of once inconceivable inventions. I like to think Suh was inspired by the humble jellyfish in the design of the propulsion system.

A Perfect Home: The Bridge Project is on view at the Storefront for Art and Architecture from September 15 to December 7.