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August 24, 2010

Artifact — by Gregory Barsamian

The 2010 sculpture is made from steel, glass, polyurethane foam, a motor, and strobe lights.


Ken Johnson, reviewing it in the July 16, 2010 New York Times, wrote, "You might question its artistic profundity, but there is no doubting the sheer visual magic of 'Artifact,' the sculpture by Gregory Barsamian featured here. A giant head like the top of an ancient colossus lies on its side in the darkened space. Bright blinking lights radiate from blob-shaped windows built into its steel-plate surface.


"Peering in through one of the transparencies, you discover an amazing sight, a kind of three-dimensional Claymation cartoon. Amid a network of serpentine steel rods, apples fall from branches into bright green hands where they melt into colored liquid, which falls into hats arranged in a circle below. Meanwhile, little yellow birds fly out of womblike bladders, swoop up and around and crash into small, open, antique books that slam shut on them. As these events repeat at high speed, you may look into other windows for different points of view. It is a mesmerizing and confounding spectacle.

"'Artifact' works on the principle of the zoetrope. Apples, birds, books and other elements are attached sequentially to the tubular network, and the whole thing spins at high speed. With each flash of the strobes, you see the objects instantaneously arrested at different positions, which creates the miraculous illusion of motion. Mr. Barsamian’s excellent Web site (gregorybarsamian.com) reveals the secrets of his work.


"Mr. Barsamian produces kinetic sculptures for an international clientele. Commissioned by the Museum of Old and New in Hobart, Tasmania, in Australia, 'Artifact' is closer to children’s science museum fare than serious art — the imagery lacks metaphorical depth — but it is truly a wonder to behold."

The caption for the video up top: "James Kalm sneaks into this "No Photography Allowed" exhibition of Gregory Barsamian's 'Artifact,' commissioned by the Museum of Old and New (MONA) in Hobart, Tasmania. Barsamian's kinetic sculptures have been exhibited widely in Europe and around the world, and are included in numerous private and public collections, but are not often seen in New York (where Barsamian lives and works) before being sent off to their final destinations. This was the first time in 14 years a new sculpture was on view in New York."

August 24, 2010 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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Don't you just love art the size of Ozymandias? I kind of get this one, but let me know when it pops up in the MoMA gift shop.

Posted by: Becs | Aug 24, 2010 6:52:20 PM

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