Urs Fischer in New York

Urs Fischer has been getting a ton of press lately.
Guess I'm going to have to go to New York to see his show at the New Museum of Contemporary Art.
Here are some excerpts from what I thought were the better attempts to explain his work:



The New Museum show contains work from the past two years. Five huge cast-aluminum sculptures that are being made in China have been in the works since 2005; one of them is behind schedule and can’t be shipped by boat. Fischer is not a conceptual artist. His work starts with the materials he uses, and the way he shapes them. Dozens of skilled people in Zurich and Shanghai were building and assembling the elements of his New Museum show. Mentions Scipio Schneider. Fischer was born in Zurich in 1973. He moved to Amsterdam in 1993 and had his first solo show at a gallery in Zurich, in 1996. Fischer’s current studio occupies a large warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The floor space in the studio was occupied largely by cardboard models of the “mirror boxes” that would fill one of the three floors in the New Museum exhibition. There were more than thirty of them, ranging in height from two or three feet to eight feet, and each one bore a single photographed image of something familiar: the Empire State Building, a raw T-bone steak, a London telephone booth, a cupcake. “I’m interested in collisions of things,” Fischer said, “and how objects relate to each other.” -Calvin Tomkins at The New Yorker

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Photograph of Urs Fischer by Craig McDean

Gavin Brown: Do you think about a piece you make being around in 200 years or 2,000 years?
Urs Fischer: I could see the works just living in reproductions. The work lives on like fantasy. Some live even better as just an image.
GB: So what are you going to do in a year's time, when it's all melted down, every bank's gone bust, and there are no more galleries or collectors?
UF: I think for art, it wouldn't be bad, actually.
GB: Art presumably will go on?
UF: Art always goes on. It could use a makeover . . .
GB: A little clean out? A good colonic?
UF: There aren't many spiritual values now in art.
GB: Do you ever worry about your footprint?
UF: Yeah. The whole art world is being filled with all these fairs and flying all that crap in crates all over the world in planes. Jesus.
GB: We've got a big footprint here, too.
UF: Then I think we've all got to become poets.

Except from discussion at Interview Magazine.

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Among those who attended the opening of Urs Fischer's mega-show "Urs Fischer: Marguerite de Ponty," at the New Museum earlier this week were Chuck Close, Tony Shafrazi, Gavin Brown, Cindy Sherman, Jeffrey Deitch and Matthew Higgs. Among those who didn't: the 36-year-old Swiss artist himself. -Ryan James MacFarland at W magazine.

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Urs Fischer: Marguerite de Ponty
New Museum
October 28, 2009-February 7, 2010

It is the first time this museum has devoted its entire space to a single artist.
A technical tour de force that required more than 25,000 photographs and over twelve tons of steel, this is Urs Fischer’s most ambitious work to date. Fifty-one chrome steel boxes of various sizes occupy the gallery, composing a grid of monoliths—an immersive cityscape of mirroring cubes onto which the artist has silkscreened a dizzying array of images. A larger-than-life sneaker; a twelve-foot-tall model of the Empire State Building; an oversized éclair; a gigantic, raw T-Bone steak; and a huge effigy of Pop star Ashanti. Like a collage unraveling before the viewer’s eyes, the mirroring surface of each box reflects both the spectators and the images silkscreened on the neighboring sculptures, creating an optical maze that concurrently renders everything immaterial and hyper-real. -Jill Krementz at NY Social Diary.

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Urs Fischer, you, 2007, mixed media, dimensions variable. Image courtesy artist/Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York.

Fischer has also made his name by cutting holes in things. For a recent gallery show, he commanded that the interior of Gavin Brown's space in New York be completely excavated so that all there was to see was a gaping pit of dirt. This intervention riffed on older gestures by artists like Gordon Matta-Clark and Daniel Buren, who sliced and diced institutional spaces, claiming that they were making viewers aware of their underlying structures. In Fischer's hands, however, this idea seemed more a deliberate piece of theater than a consciousness-raising exercise. Spectacular but stripped-down, cynical but in-your-face—it felt almost punk-rock. - Ben Davis at Slate.

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