Robert Breer and the Haunting of Simon Preston Gallery

THE DAILY PIC: Breer's sculptures wander the gallery like ghosts.

THE DAILY PIC (#1765): There’s magic afoot at Simon Preston Gallery in New York. The inanimate sculptures of the late Robert Breer turn out to be … animate, or at least a fine simulation of such, thanks to a few hidden motors that let them move about the gallery of their own “volition.” One minute the squat green cylinder of Float is hanging out around the front desk, like a client with too much time to spare. The next minute—or rather, many, many minutes later—the slow-moving creature is to be seen taking in an abstract animation by Breer that’s projected in a rear space.

Although Breer’s pared-down forms would fit fine in a show of minimal works by his contemporaries Robert Morris or Donald Judd, the very fact that they move seems to give them a thoroughly un-minimal energy. On the other hand, if minimalism was partly about waking us up to the raw objecthood of objects, and to our place in the space around us, then Breer’s works more than belong. In fact, one of his pieces is just the gallery space itself—but with some of its walls set on motorized casters. Those walls endlessly reconfigure themselves, and us. (Courtesy the artist and Simon Preston Gallery, New York)

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