Monday, August 1, 2011

William Corwin at the Clocktower Gallery

Wiliam Corwin uses sculpture to explore the way people catalogue information and organize the ties that link one idea to another. It brings to mind a lot of the things that interest me about R. Justin Stewart's work, though while Stewart has focussed on creating works that refigure sets of information in a new and insightful way (e.g. relationships between former Google executives, the lines and stops of the Minneapolis transit system), Corwin's sculptures have no referent set of data.

Installation view: William Corwin, Double Rood installation in Auroch's Library, 2011. Wood, plaster, found objects.  
Auroch's Library, Corwin's site-specific sculpture, is a chart that doesn't clearly refer to any place or thing. I saw the piece at the Clocktower Gallery on Leonard Street in lower Manhattan with a friend, and, to be fair, did not do most of the talking. Corwin is interested in military history, and there was a list of Civil War battles tacked to the wall, though it was hard to connect to specific facts about the installation either from his artist's statement or conversations with him at the gallery. What's most compelling is the library's structure (built in a vigorously simple arrangement of beams and shelves that is almost completely free-standing); from what I could tell, it's the organization itself in Auroch's Library that we're supposed to see, look at, and walk around.

The same might be true for a living sculpture event taking place next week where pieces from Auroch's Library will be used in a live chess game. While Grandmaster Robert Hess and International Master Irina Krush play, each of the pieces will be connected to a rope attached at the ceiling to a long stairway, supposedly to impede the order and purity of a more traditional match. A somewhat less serious example of live-competition-as-art might be the mock naval battles Duke Riley staged in Queens two summers ago.

I've actually never seen a Grand Chess Master play before, so the match for it's own sake should be worth checking out. It will be taking place at the Clocktower Gallery, adjacent to Air International Radio, on the 13th floor of 108 Leonard Street, on Wednesday, August 10th. The event will be free and open to the public. Check back later for time.

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