In 2006, Gabriel Orozco uncovered a whale skeleton in the Isla Arena wildlife preserve in Baja California, using the skeleton in his sculpture Mobile Matrix. Returning to the area this year, Orozco’s discoveries were more commonplace: bits of trash and industrial refuse washing up on the shore.
Orozco has always been attuned to discarded objects and ephemeral experiences: a breath leaving condensation on a piano, puddles drying on the street, or accumulated dryer lint. On view at the Guggenheim in New York, Sandstars is a carefully organized and photographed collection of debris from Isla Arena, around 1,200 objects in all. The sea-worn detritus may have washed ashore on the same currents feeding the Texas-sized accumulation of trash and plastic in the middle of the Pacific.
Orozco’s second installation at the Guggenheim, Astroturf Constellation, is an accumulation of tiny castaways found embedded in the Astroturf of a playing field on New York’s Pier 40. (When in the city, Orozco can often be found at Pier 40 throwing boomerangs, one of his hobbies.) The paperclips, bits of soccer balls, and gum wrappers each have stories to tell stories about how people use New York’s public spaces. In her catalog essay, Guggenheim curator Nancy Spector compares Orozco’s juxtaposition of micro and macro to Charles and Ray Eames’ film Powers of Ten, which begins with a picnic in Chicago, zooms out to show the vast emptiness of the universe, and then zooms in on the quarks in a Carbon atom. The exhibition, the Deutsche Bank Series at the Guggenheim, Gabriel Orozoc: Asterisms, is on view through January 13 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.
OROZCO IN CONVERSATION
Art historian Benjamin Buchloh has said that Orozco gives mere junk “an air of redemption.” Hear Buchloh and Orozco talk as part of the museum’s Conversations with Contemporary Artists series on Tuesday, November 13 at 6:30 p.m. Buy tickets here. Enter to win tickets by retweeting on Twitter or sharing on Facebook!
Update: The talk is now sold out, but standby tickets may be available if space allows.