October 5, 2002
Anton Kern Gallery is proud to present Michael Joo’s seventh solo show in New York. Opening on September 5th, this is his first solo show after his participation in the Whitney Biennial.
Michael Joo’s new work, The Pack, consists of fifty plasticine sculptures. Based on taxidermy models for coyote skins, the works question notions of originality and individuality as they relate to figurative sculpture and installation. Arranged on pedestals of varying heights, the work can be seen as both unified whole and series of individual works. The viewer’s presence completes this group of stereotypically nonpack animals. Each of the figures is unique and meticulously crafted, belying the thin skin of clay cover that forms each model.
God, the second sculpture in the exhibition presents the image of a fur clad figure reclining on a pedestal made of frost and ice. The base upon which this figure lies is formed by the condensed humidity of the space itself and the breath of the viewer. As in The Pack, this work disrupts the strategies used to recreate the discourse of reality in the natural history museum, favoring the present and possible futures over the past.
Like Joo’s earlier works, Visible (1999-2000) and Assisted (2000), in which the artist employs his interest in medical anthropology to implicate the social and the failure of the absolute in the scientific model, these works extend the life of the found object and reference craft and customization.