At Lelong, Andy Goldsworthy’s Tough Early Work

THE DAILY PIC: He comes off as an unsentimental conceptualist.


THE DAILY PIC (#1422): I was blown away when I saw these almost unknown early photos of Andy Goldsworthy at work. They are in his solo show now at Galerie Lelong in New York, in a side room hung with all kinds of rare documentation of Goldsworthy’s first interactions with nature, which have a wonderfully raw, exploratory energy. I’m particularly fond of how these photos of his Hazel Stick Throws (there are another seven shots) capture Goldsworthy’s energetic toss, while making the sticks themselves look like a drawn abstraction at rest on the photo’s surface. That contrast foreshadows the tension Goldsworthy has always achieved between his work as performance and object. His hazel throw feels like a more Romantic, British-inflected version of John Baldessari’s great ball toss.

Some of Goldsworthy’s best-loved later works have struck me as too eco-earnest, or even as picture-postcard precious. Having seen where he got his start, I’m now less concerned about where he has sometimes ended up. (He can also still get things perfectly right, as in a magical video at Lelong where he records a beam of sunlight and dust.)

(Image copyright Andy Goldsworthy, courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York)

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