Mario Merz’s Smorgasbord ‘Painting’

THE DAILY PIC: At Sperone Westwater, a table by the Italian is an art buffet.

THE DAILY PIC (#1573): Mario Merz’s Spiral Table, from 1982, is now on view in the show of his works at Sperone Westwater gallery in New York.

I was struck by how Merz’s table touched on a lot of different issues that were live in late 20th-century art. Its assembled fruits and veggies, arrayed in orderly patterns on the table, act as a living analogue for the color-field abstraction that had ruled the art world for so much of Merz’s mature career. And of course those greengrocer’s goods also, and obviously, sit in the tradition of Marcel Duchamp’s readymades – although here the ready-grown replaces the man-made. And then there’s a nod to all the food-centered performances of 1970s New York and maybe also to land art, with this smaller spiral as sibling to Smithson’s much bigger one.

Was there some sense that the only way to move on from all those traditions was to gather them all in one place for a viewing? – in the mortician’s sense of the word.

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