Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A lot like life

Forget the frippery of "Heavenly Bodies." The Met blockbuster to see is "Like Life: Sculpture, Color and the Body" at the Breuer, an astonishing exhibition of sculptures of the human form from 1300 to the present. There's lots of religious art, too, but here it doesn't feel like it's being abused. Duane Hanson's 1984 "Housepainter II" opens the show.

Kusama Yayoi, "Phallic Girl" (1967) with other mannequins; Rigoberto Torres, "Shorty working in the C. & R. Statuary Corp" (1985); a naughty but somehow not malicious juxtaposition of a German Shrine of the Virgin (1300) and Damien Hirst's "Virgin (Exposed)" (2005), itself a take on a famous Degas sculpture of a young ballerina on view nearby.

John De Andrea "Self-Portrait with Sculpture" (1980) won't let you go; the huge Nellingen Crucifix (1430-35) with four of Lucia Fontana's heart-breaking "Crocifissi" (1948-55); Gregorio Fernández' glass-eyed "Dead Christ" (1625-30) and Alison Saar's metal-plated "Strange Fruit" (1995).

Louise Bourgeois' unnerving "Three Horizontals" (1998). Perhaps my favorite of many sly juxtapositions was Elmgreen and Dragset's 2012 "The Experiment" (the boy is looking into a mirror) with a c. 1625 Spanish or Mexican "Child Jesus Triumphant" (more divinely garbed than most of "Heavenly Bodies"). And the exhibition ends with Australian Ron Mueck's characteristically powerful "Old woman in bed" (2000).

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