Ghoulish, Erotic, and Just Plain Weird, Jeffrey Deitch’s New ‘People’ Show of Figurative Sculpture Has Someone for Everyone
The show was inspired by Mike Kelley's 1993 exhibition "The Uncanny."
Jeffrey Deitch’s Wooster Street gallery has been overrun by a rag-tag cast of characters who are preoccupied with all manner of human activity and emotions. At the front of the space is Tony Matelli’s Sleepwalker (2009), a somnambulating woman dressed only in a pair of floral Fruit of the Loom underwear, caught mid-stride with her eyes closed and lips slightly parted, arms groping in front of her zombie-style.
Nearby is Duane Hanson’s Cheerleader (1988), a bored teenage girl clad in saddle shoes and a smart pleated skirt, with a pompom hanging limply at her side. These are examples of the most human-like figures of all the sculptures in the current exhibition at Jeffrey Deitch, “People,” a group show of 33 sculptures by 29 contemporary artists.
On the other end of the figurative spectrum is one of Nick Cave’s colorful Soundsuits, holding court in the middle of the gallery, topped with a pinwheel-shaped halo of neon colored toys. John Ahearn’s facsimile of a solitary African American man from 1986, titled Kevin in Thought, ambles nearby Barry McGee’s installation of five graffiti artists, propping each other up like a human ladder, cheekily facing away from the viewer and tagging the back wall with neon orange spray paint.
“People” was inspired by Mike Kelley’s 1993 show at Tate Liverpool, “The Uncanny,” based on Freud’s essay of the same name. The exhibition considered the unsettling feeling that comes from encountering human-like objects, which Kelley described as a “muted sense of horror: horror tinged with confusion,” akin to déjà vu.
The Deitch show also opens on the heels of the Met Breuer’s “Like Life,” which looked at the human form over the course of art history. See images from Deitch’s creepy, fun, disturbing show “People” below.
“People” is on view at Jeffrey Deitch, 18 Wooster Street, New York, May 5–June 30.
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