Casey Kaplan

Artist News

Trisha Donnelly’s Artist Choice on Artforum’s Best of 2012

Best of 2012

Beau Rutland

…As I was walking recently through MoMA’s painting and sculpture galleries, the glint of a George Platt Lynes photograph caught me off guard—the backside of the lithe ephebe inspecting a Pavel Tchelitchewwork didn’t quite fit. “Artist’s Choice: Trisha Donnelly,” to which the displacement belongs, breathed fresh life into the museological apparatus, halting the narrative the institution labors to achieve. In this configuration, Futurism gives way not to Kandinsky but to Eliot Porter’s mystifying and somehow uplifting jewel-toned avian portraits. Further along, Donnelly tightly packs a gallery with works depicting both human and natural subjects, all achingly familiar and easily resonant. “All of these works feel necessary to me. Each one is an epic entity,” she states in the wall text. Donnelly’s tightly wound installation reminds us that the previous capacious galleries had been filled with exclusions, both historical and social. Certain images, especially now in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, whether logs floating precariously close to low-hanging power lines or wave patterns in rippling water, evince a humanism seldom seen in this rarefied space. That Donnelly is able to provoke and awaken with the work of others speaks to the strengths of her associative practice and perhaps the fragility of this moment…