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Review: A studio's golden age of bronze in 'Crucible'

May 31, 2012|By Holly Myers
  • Image: Kiki Smith, "Ovum and Sperm," 1992.
Image: Kiki Smith, "Ovum and Sperm," 1992. (Angles Gallery )

Anyone who has spent enough time in Santa Fe, N.M., to witness the indignities to which bronze is routinely subjected there — cast into bucking broncos, Indian warriors, nude women, exotic wildlife, frolicking children and so forth — will find much to appreciate in “Crucible,” a concise survey of multiples created through the 1990s at Art Foundry, a Santa Fe fabrication studio founded in 1980 by Dwight Hackett. (Hackett operated a second foundry in downtown Los Angeles in the late 1980s as well.)

A list of the artists who passed through Art Foundry in its 20-plus year existence (it closed in 2002) reads like a who’s who of late 20th century American art. The 13 works included here — by Bruce Nauman, Susan Rothenberg, Lynda Benglis, Kiki Smith, Rachel Whiteread, Richard Tuttle, Janine Antoni and Ron Cooper — were produced by special invitation through Art Foundry Editions. Most are bronze (a few are silver, iron or steel), cast in small editions at a modest, tabletop scale.

The studio’s reputed capacity for dynamic collaboration is evident in the range and delicacy of this modest selection. From Benglis’ “Ghost Dance,” a lovely tangle of gold-leafed bronze so jaunty and intricate that it might as well have been made from wet clay, to Whiteread’s “Untitled (White),” an exquisitely elegant cast steel vessel with white porcelain enamel, each work carries the medium in an its own exciting direction.

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 Angles Gallery, 2754 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 396-5019, through June 30. Closed Sunday and Monday. www.anglesgallery.com

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