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Judith Scott: Bound & Unbound at the Brooklyn Museum of Art

artcritical - Art Review - March 20, 2015

Visitors to “Judith Scott: Bound & Unbound,” currently at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, are confronted early with one of the artist’s first masterpieces, Untitled (1988), a substantial, architectural sculpture that has been hung on the wall, as in relief. Twined and tied around several bundles of sticks is a vivid array of materials: woolen yarns, fabric strips and plastic tape in a dazzling range of colors, along with green gardening wire of different gauges. The thicker wire loops and swirls around the heart of the structure, while smaller, shaggy-headed knots of the thinner-gauged wire peek out from various crevices like diaphanous sea anemones. At nearly five feet tall, it is one of the larger works on view, and also one of the few to hang on the wall rather than rest supine on a platform. Whether this deliberate curatorial decision would have been met with approval or not by Scott (who died in 2005 at the age of 61) is anyone’s guess. Not only did she never speak a word about her work, she gave no titles to any of her more than 200 sculptures and left no instructions about her intent for their display. In fact, once Scott finished a sculpture, she seemed to have little interest in ever revisiting it. These thorny details, among others, must be grappled with when staging an exhibition of her complex and endlessly fascinating work.


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