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The Floor Show

Gravity and Materials

June 16–July 28, 2012
Beverly Hills

Installation view Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view

Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view

Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view

Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view

Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view

Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view Photo: Benjamin Lee Ritchie Handler

Installation view

Photo: Benjamin Lee Ritchie Handler

Installation view Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view

Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view

Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view

Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view

Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation view

Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Installation video Play Button

Installation video

Works Exhibited

John Chamberlain, Gondola Walt Whitman, 1981 Painted and chrome-plated steel, 24 × 20 × 162 inches (61 × 50.8 × 411.5 cm)© Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

John Chamberlain, Gondola Walt Whitman, 1981

Painted and chrome-plated steel, 24 × 20 × 162 inches (61 × 50.8 × 411.5 cm)
© Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Jack Pierson, Everything You Ever Wanted, 2012 Plastic, wood, neon, and metal, 37 ½ × 45 × 36 inches (95.2 × 114.3 × 91.4 cm)Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Jack Pierson, Everything You Ever Wanted, 2012

Plastic, wood, neon, and metal, 37 ½ × 45 × 36 inches (95.2 × 114.3 × 91.4 cm)
Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

Robert Therrien, No title (Pallet), 2007 Steel with copper and nickel, 6 ¼ × 40 × 40 inches (15.9 × 101.6 × 101.6 cm)© Robert Therrien/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Robert Therrien, No title (Pallet), 2007

Steel with copper and nickel, 6 ¼ × 40 × 40 inches (15.9 × 101.6 × 101.6 cm)
© Robert Therrien/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

About

Gagosian is pleased to present The Floor Show: Gravity and Materials, a group exhibition of floor-based sculpture organized in collaboration with curator Richard D. Marshall. The Floor Show explores the variety of ways contemporary artists have expanded the possibility of the sculptural medium by removing it from the once-compulsory pedestal.

In Andy Warhol’s painting Dance Diagram (1962), he renders an appropriated diagram for ballroom dance steps on canvas. By installing the painting on the floor rather than the wall, Warhol transforms it into an interactive sculptural object that prefaces his stacked Brillo Boxes. From this early moment, the show bears witness to the ways in which placement on the floor has augured a wealth of thematic elaborations—addressing the effects of gravity, horizontality, randomness, and the physical qualities of materials.

Carl Andre, Robert Morris, Richard Serra, and Robert Therrien have focused on materials and their interaction with the floor, taking advantage of their rigidity, flexibility, color, and texture. The precariously balanced steel components of Serra’s plinth-less sculpture Malmo Roll (1984) afford the piece a visceral thrill, highlighting the inherent strength and beauty of its medium. In Morris’s Untitled (1976), strips of gray felt, hung from the wall, spill onto the floor—thus showcasing the biomorphic textural response of the material’s weight and folds to the force of gravity. Andre’s The Void Enclosed by Lead and Copper Squares of Three, Four, and Five (1998) is composed of equally proportioned unfinished lead and copper squares, its careful placement on the floor creating an ideal perspective for viewing the literal illustration of the geometric principle Pythagorean triple. Therrien’s No title (Pallet) (1997) is shaped like an industrial sleeping pallet, occupying its rightful place on the floor; however, its striking reflective surface transforms this familiar and banal shape into an object of beauty.

The younger generation of artists exhibited has continued to utilize the floor as the support for their work, but they often instill subjective and emotional content not explored by their predecessors. Rachel Whiteread’s Black Bed (1991)—a cast polyurethane sculpture of a black mattress lying directly on the floor—startles with its disquieting intimacy and seeming reality. Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s UNTITLED (SUMMER) (1993), which consists of a string of lights piled on the floor, creates an object of memory and loss—reinforced by the light bulb’s allusion to personal relationships, and their inexplicable tendency to burn out at different times. In Mike Kelley’s Crooked Body (1993), an assemblage of stuffed children’s toys is sewn together and strewn haphazardly on the floor to reference the internal despair and longing felt when an object of seeming adoration is quickly discarded. Tom Sachs’s 4' x 8' Sheet of Plywood (2011) consists of perfectly square sheets of laminated plywood stacked on the floor. The physical labor represented by the stack is a sacred and integral part of his process; for Sachs, the plywood stack itself becomes an object of devotion.

Alexander Calder poster for McGovern, 1972, lithograph

The Art History of Presidential Campaign Posters

Against the backdrop of the 2020 US presidential election, historian Hal Wert takes us through the artistic and political evolution of American campaign posters, from their origin in 1844 to the present. In an interview with Quarterly editor Gillian Jakab, Wert highlights an array of landmark posters and the artists who made them.

Tom Eccles and Kiki Smith on Rachel Whiteread

In Conversation
Tom Eccles and Kiki Smith on Rachel Whiteread

On the occasion of Artist Spotlight: Rachel Whiteread, curator Tom Eccles and artist Kiki Smith speak about the work of Rachel Whiteread through the lens of their personal friendships with her. They discuss her public projects from the early 1990s to the present, the relationship between drawing and sculpture in her practice, and the way her works reveal the memories embedded in familiar everyday objects.

Still from the video "In Conversation: Rachel Whiteread and Ann Gallagher"

In Conversation
Rachel Whiteread and Ann Gallagher

Rachel Whiteread speaks to Ann Gallagher about a new group of resin sculptures for an upcoming exhibition at Gagosian in London. They discuss the works’ emphasis on surface texture, light, and reflection.

Allen Midgette in front of the Chelsea Hotel, New York, 2000. Photo: Rita Barros

I’ll Be Your Mirror: Allen Midgette

Raymond Foye speaks with the actor who impersonated Andy Warhol during the great Warhol lecture hoax in the late 1960s. The two also discuss Midgette’s earlier film career in Italy and the difficulty of performing in a Warhol film.

Andy Warhol catalogue. Philadelphia: Institute of Contemporary Art, 1965.

Book Corner
On Collecting with Norman Diekman

Rare-book expert Douglas Flamm speaks with designer Norman Diekman about his unique collection of books on art and architecture. Diekman describes his first plunge into book collecting, the history behind it, and the way his passion for collecting grew.

Andy Warhol cover design for the magazine Aspen 1, no. 3.

Artists’ Magazines

Gwen Allen recounts her discovery of cutting-edge artists’ magazines from the 1960s and 1970s and explores the roots and implications of these singular publications.