March 21 – May 9, 2001
A quirky humor underlies a fundamental practicality in the artwork of Claude Collins-Stracensky. The sculpture generated from his studio practice often appears to be prototypes for mass-produced furniture appropriate for a variety of domestic settings.
Offering an oblique comment on what to do with used chewing gum, “Proppo,” (1999), a stand for a stereo system, is held up by what appears to be a giant foundation of molded bubble gum. The piece was the basis of a performance last year in which a costumed DJ played music on “Proppo” within a rec-room environment that included another piece of sculpture, a six-foot-tall artificial cactus — an easy plant to care for, especially in southern California, and therefore probably least in demand among connoisseurs of artificial foliage. What’s fake becomes both real and practical in Collins-Stracensky’s work.
Collins-Stracensky’s sense of humor, as well as his panache for innovative performative gestures reoccurs throughout his work. In a project entitled “Popsicle Commercial”, Collins-Stracensky teams an interactive installation and a costumed DJ with a participatory audience to create an environment that is variable and continuous, somewhere between sculpture and a rave. Collins-Stracensky’s current project, which was presented at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, is a work in progress entitled “Living Room.” While the formal details and attention to craft enable the sculptural elements to stand strongly on their own, they are re-contextualized and enlivened by the performances that occur around them or by those that are alluded to take place. For example, “Rock Shelf with Reflexive Library” serves as a functional object, practically and aesthetically housing a collection of books, but further, implies (and as the title implies by the term “reflexive”) an ongoing performative interaction with the reader who owns it.