Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to present Robert Lazzarini’s new project, friendly-hostile-friendly. Consisting of a group of wall-mounted sculptures, the exhibition will open on November 4, 2010 at 511 W. 27th Street.
friendly-hostile-friendly takes as its point of departure the actual photo-based, realistic-situation shooting targets that are used in law-enforcement training and are comprised of both “friendly” and “hostile” figures. Mounted on various substrates, such as cardboard boxes, pieces of scrap lauan, and Styrofoam, the works on display are composed of distortions of these shooting targets after they have been shot with various caliber guns. Contrary to their intended training purposes, the targets in friendly-hostile-friendly display a violence that is indiscriminate. Whether armed or un-armed, everyone has been shot.
The distorted targets present the bullet hole as gestural mark, connecting two manners in which the hand leaves a trace of dynamic action. Twelve-gauge shotguns and .44 magnum, .38 caliber and 9mm handguns become tools of artistic production inextricably linked to one’s grasp, both manual and intentional. In this, the targets issue from Lazzarini’s earlier explorations of the phenomenology of perception, in which mathematical distortions based upon similarly pre-existing objects appeared to collapse three-dimensional and two-dimensional space. By beginning with a more two-dimensional object, Lazzarini’s targets continue to limn this narrow space—the shot-up substrates add a sculptural dimension to the otherwise flat targets, as do the bullet holes that puncture both the target and it’s backing —while simultaneously opening up new ones that touch on the problem—and violence—of abstraction.
friendly-hostile-friendly revisits the American mythology of crime and violence. The monochromatic screen prints of the targets recall the implicit violence of Warhol’s Thirteen Most Wanted Men (1964) and his gun-brandishing Silver Elvis (1963), while the deformations recall the early shaped canvases of Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly. Lazzarini’s distortions suggest a different heritage for modernism’s well-disciplined punctual gaze: the panic of a violent moment, the adrenaline rush, the experience of anxiety, stress, fear—and the illusory sensation of time slowed down.
Robert Lazzarini was born in 1965 in New Jersey, and received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally in venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, the Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, and the Kunsthalle Berne. Some permanent collections include the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, the Milwaukee Art Museum, WI, The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC, the Newark Museum, NJ, The Toledo Museum of Art, OH, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, and Davidson College, NC. Lazzarini has an upcoming exhibition at the Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX. He lives and works in New York and is represented by Honor Fraser in Los Angeles.