A column featuring Douglas Bentham’s responses to a broad range of provocative stimuli, some casual observations, and late-night thoughts on art and the universe—not to mention the general state of all things cultural.



Doris Salcedo Review

Doris Salcedo Review
Alexander and Bonin Gallery, NY
November 22, 2008–January 3, 2009

When I first laid eyes upon Doris Salcedo’s two wooden sculptures, placed side by side in the Alexander and Bonin Gallery, I believe that the fact they were constructed of furniture parts, in the main whole and intact furniture parts, distracted me. Two wardrobe cabinets, the kind with either legs or closed bases and one or two doors, lay on their backs in each sculpture, one atop the other. A long, library-style table seemed to be placed over the top of them, and extended out one end as a kind of appendage. Two of its legs (the only two, one discovers on closer inspection) stood firmly, traditionally, as tables do—on the floor.

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I believe the act of making art…

I believe the act of making art can accurately be compared to a flowing stream, a river, with tributaries feeding into it. I also believe in progress, so I expect the stream to move forward, to be generative. But it must often double back on itself in order to proceed. Each tributary has an original source composed of a myriad of artistic traditions and personal memories, which become consolidated in the art.


I like this description a lot…

Painter Douglas Haynes has suggested that ‘each work an artist produces becomes a part of his/her self-portrait’. I like this description a lot. Just as each stroke on the canvas, or join in a sculpture, assumes its own necessity and reinforces every other part, so too does each finished painting or sculpture find its place in the portrait.