The blue light emanating from Russ Orlando’s sculptural installation transforms the gallery from a sterile institutional environment to one filled with intrigue. As part of the Detroit artists in residency exhibition, Orlando’s work features auto parts hung on meat hooks in various stages of salt curing. Referencing sides of beef in a slaughterhouse meat locker, the sculptures’ salt crystallization patterns juxtaposed with the discarded auto parts are quite beautiful and unusual. However, I question the artist’s conceptual metaphor of preservation as a means to heal—in this case the dying city of Detroit. I wonder, do we want to heal that which is dead or antiquated?
1973 jaguar, private rare book collection
Developed specifically for the Dallas Museum of Art’s exhibition Boom Town Kennedy’s piece proffers a seductive slap to the entrenched values of the locale. Presenting a foreign, classic automobile as a proxy for misplaced interpretations of class Kennedy drained the car’s fluids, carefully filled the car with his rare book collection, then locked it. The elegant collectibles become inert, unread and undriven, yet infinitely more valuable as such. The unmoving vehicle becomes a mummified tomb for the inaccessible collection, much as the museum grows stagnant beneath the weight of its glorified role as a cultural icon.