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Found and Ready
Categories: Art Exhibitions

Coburn Projects is proud to present Found and Ready, an exhibition featuring sculptures by Alexis Dahan, Tom Sachs and Aaron Young. The title echoes the idea of “ready-made” which describes the phenomenon of placing a mass produced object into an art context. Since Duchamp, this definition has evolved and has been relabeled with the trope “found-object”. This exhibition takes the term “found-object” literally and explores variations of this method when applied to elements that can be found on the streets of New York City.

With Payphone (three pointed star), 2019, Alexis Dahan incorporates three actual steel New York City payphones blending them together to form a new object. Through the acts of cutting, welding and polishing, the readymade is transformed into a cold shiny three-pointed star erected on the wall like a pagan idol. Formally used in the pre-cellphone world to allow communication, the three payphones are now engaged in a silent three-way conference call on each side of a steel triangle.

Cinderblock (Blue foam with holes), 2012, illustrates the classical Tom Sachs technique of creating an object that has the form of a readymade but is built with standard construction materials (which can also be viewed as “found objects” in their own rights). To re-create a standard size concrete cinder block, Sachs used “Dow styrofoam scoreboard”, an extruded polystyrene sheet manufactured for thermal isolation in construction. Both materials are typical sights from the streets of New York, a city that is always under construction. Sachs had the polystyrene treated with epoxy resin and fiberglass which not only makes it time proof but also adds a luster to the sculpture that again functions as the vector that turns the object into an artifact.

Finally, Aaron Young’s Crushed Barricade #3, 2009, represents a bent crowd-control steel fence that has been plated with 24-karat gold. The urban furniture serves the purpose of control over pedestrians and traffic, limiting access and encouraging certain directions. Firstly, in a destructive action, Young crushes the fence and gives it a new form that makes its initial function obsolete. Then, the steel surface was plated with gold, thus elevating the fence into a domain of near-religious preciousness, far away from its initial policing function. There is a political undertone with this sculpture. Power may be used to abuse or to protect, the same way the artist tampers with the physical integrity of the object and then cares for it by making it shine.

Alexis Dahan (b.1982) is a French artist and writer, and lives in New York since 2005. He completed his master’s degree in Literature and Philosophy in Paris and studied Journalism at New York University in 2007. Since his first exhibition at the Half Gallery in 2012, Dahan has created many public works including a commission by the Art Production Fund, an intervention with the Fire Department of New York and recently a site-specific sculpture at the Fondation CAB in Brussels. Dahan has been artist in residence at Mass MOCA and the International Studio and Curatorial Program (I.S.C.P.) As a writer, Dahan has published interviews with artists such as Joseph Kosuth, Jeff Wall, Gabriel Orozco, Lawrence Weiner, Giuseppe Penone, Barbara Kruger and Adrian Villar Rojas.

Tom Sachs (b. 1966) grew up in Westport, Connecticut. He currently lives and works in New York. After studying at the Architectural Association in London in 1987, Sachs received a BA from Bennington College in Vermont in 1989. As one of the most prominent American contemporary artists, Sachs has had major solo exhibitions around the world since 1999 including at the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2003); the Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo (2006); the Fondazione Prada, Milan (2006); the Lever House, New York (2008); the Park Avenue Armory (2012); the Brooklyn Museum (2016); and the Noguchi Museum (2016). Sachs’ work can be found in collections worldwide including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and Fondazione Prada, Milan. Sachs is represented by Sperone Westwater (solo exhibitions in 2004, 2008, 2011, and 2017).

Aaron Young (b. 1972) received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and his MFA from the Yale School of Art. After completing his education, he moved to New York where he continues to live and work. Young is a contemporary American artist known for his exploration of spectacle and performance. In one of his most celebrated works Greeting Card 10a (2007), Young and his assistants created paintings by driving motorcycles over plywood panels. The resulting works are covered in exhaust smoke and tire tracks. Young has numerous exhibitions in international galleries and institutions and the artist’s works are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Jumex in Mexico City, among others.

Author: Elizabeth Kelly

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