At Miguel Abreu, Peter Hutton Gives a God’s-eye View of Our Labors

THE DAILY PIC: A three-screen video shows us hard work, the world over.


THE DAILY PIC: Peter Hutton’s video-installation called Three Landscapes is at Miguel Abreu Gallery in New York. Its three screens show Ethiopian salt miners, farmers in lush Upstate New York and men repairing bridges in rust-belt Detroit. The piece has its roots in worker footage by the Russian avant-garde, but it doesn’t manage to be quite as romantic in its view of the working man’s struggle. The workers it shows are noble, for sure, but their manual labor is also the ultimate human burden: There’s a reason the phrase “working in a salt mine” refers to the hardest hard work there is. (Although the “mines” of Ethiopia shown by Hutton seem to be old sea beds whose salt now sits on the earth’s desert surface; it can’t be fun to be one of the men cutting the salt into planks, but my heart goes out to the camels that cart it away.) On the other hand, the sheer beauty of Hutton’s footage sends a message that all is not wrong with the world when humans are at work in it. Or maybe Hutton’s world, in its beauty, doesn’t care about humanity’s passing toil. Looking at Hutton’s three screens, I suddenly had an image of an all-seeing God – but in the guise of a security guard watching a bank of surveillance monitors,  not caring all that much about what goes on in them as He waits for His shift to end.

For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.


Article topics
Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.

You are currently logged into this Artnet News Pro account on another device. Please log off from any other devices, and then reload this page continue. To find out if you are eligible for an Artnet News Pro group subscription, please contact [email protected]. Standard subscriptions can be purchased on the subscription page.

Log In