B. Wurtz, Installation view of Untitled (Pan Paintings), 2013.
This Has No Name is the first U.S. museum survey of New York-based sculptor B. Wurtz (b. 1948). For over forty-years, Wurtz has developed a visual language that subverts the industrial austerity of Minimalism and centers the minutiae from daily life in ways poetic and whimsical. B. Wurtz’s idiosyncratic work in sculpture and assemblage revolves around the use of objects that refer, directly or indirectly, to the “acts of eating, sleeping, and keeping warm,” inspired by an early drawing.
Food tins, clothing, plastic bags, mesh produce bags, and yogurt containers are transformed into elegant meditations on form and line while simultaneously underscoring the artist’s commitment to the ethics of reuse. The exhibition at ICA LA will focus on Wurtz’s work after 1980, when he completed his studies at CalArts, beginning with his “object portraits,” a series of photographs of some materials that would later become major building blocks for his sculptures, like green plastic fruit baskets or twist-ties. These works serve as an important framework for Wurtz’s later explorations, which include drawings, paintings, and sculptures made with clothing, socks, shoestrings, household items, and post-consumer packaging materials. By incorporating recognizable, everyday materials he has personally handled, Wurtz creates self-portraits through materials, and peels away some of the mystery of artistic production to establish more intimacy between artist and viewer.
(Photo courtesy the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.)