Interruption, displacement, spatial challenge, and scrounged street materials are just a few of the components of the New Museum’s fourth-floor sculpture installation by London artist Phyllida Barlow, which continues only for the remainder of this week.
Part of the post-minimalist generation of London sculptors (Eva Hesse contemporaries), Barlow surprises visitors with a completely monumental, low-tech exploration in what she calls a “very, very awkward” space, particularly for visitors confronted by her work as they step out of the elevator.
Barlow says that the first time she saw her project space, it was “shocking” in its directness, which provided her with an exciting challenge. “Stepping out of the elevator, it’s as though you’ve stepped on stage,” she says, hoping that visitors find a “performative element” to their experience.
“Once you’re in there, there’s kind of no escape,” she says, calling it a “kind of a hostage space.” No fooling. You get to poke in, around, and about the work that she aptly names Siege.
The New Museum gives us several audio tracks in which Barlow explains her process, but go down to the Bowery to experience Siege first-hand and then listen in on what Barlow has to say. It’s like having your own, private Stonehenge experience inside a white cube.