Art of the Chew

Alina Szapocznikow Gum Photos at Andrea Rosen are the Daily Pic by Blake Gopnik

The Daily Pic: In turning gum into art, Alina Szapocznikow showed that it didn't need to be art to be good.

One photo from a series of 20 called “Photosculptures”, made by the Polish artist Alina Szapocznikow in 1971 and now on view in a group show at Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York. Szapocznikow said they came about when she needed a break from the laborious polishing of her marble renditions of Rolls Royces, and they are clearly meant to be a humble counterpoise to those deluxe objects. They are also in complex tension with the biomorphic monuments of heroic male artists such as Henry Moore: They buy Moore’s notion of beauty in the everyday, but resist the idea that such beauty needs elevation to count. Bubble gum itself comes chock full of aesthetics, and doesn’t need to be enlarged or cast in bronze. Of course, the aesthetics on view here are all about comedy, and irony and poking fun and paradox. Szapocznikow knows that elevation inevitably happens as soon as chewed gum gets presented as art, or used as the subject of elegant photos.

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