The Art of Rachel Harrison

Hal Foster at Artforum:

IMAGINE THAT ANDY WARHOL and Eva Hesse had a secret tryst in 1966 and Rachel Harrison was the love child that resulted. With its canny use of both Pop signs and funky materials, her rambunctious sculpture points to such an unlikely lineage. Smartly curated by Elisabeth Sussman and David Joselit, “Rachel Harrison Life Hack,” the midcareer survey of her work at the Whitney Museum of American Art, is roughly chronological: It guides us easily from an installation improvised out of cheap paneling, casual photographs, and canned peas in the mid-1990s to a large circle of totemic sculptures gathered for this show, with a few intense series of figure drawings and C-prints along the way. Despite the fact that Harrison is often taken to be a devil-may-care assemblage artist, the exhibition is almost spare, and this relative restraint has two welcome effects: We can learn the language of her work as it developed, and we can consider her image-object hybrids as sculptures, which also lets us reflect on the contemporary status of that medium vis-à-vis the other media sampled here. Early on, Harrison compressed the littered space of her initial installations into the tight juxtapositions of her composite objects, and thereby heightened the cultural contradictions that her pointed riffs on postwar art, mass media, and US politics call out.

more here.