La Casa Encendida presents “B. Wurtz: Selected Works, 1970–2016”, an exhibition curated by Laurence Sillars and on display for the second time in Europe after its first showing at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (Gateshead, United Kingdom). The exhibition brings together more than 60 works produced in a career spanning more than 40 years. The American artist B. Wurtz collects and accumulates ordinary objects, most of them related to consumer habits, which he then assembles and groups to create sculptures. Rather than sublimating or altering the meaning of these items for everyday use, the sculptures highlight their formal quality and function.
The work of B. Wurtz revolves around the use of objects that reference people’s basic needs: food, shelter and clothing. Food cans, plastic bags, socks, coat hangers, buttons, supermarket leaflets, wrappers, shoelaces, locks… Practising a type of artistic recycling, B. Wurtz uses commonplace household and discarded materials to create delicate sculptures and installations that lend a new meaning to the lowly objects. On one level, the artist invites us to consider the possibilities of items of everyday use, and on another level he reveals a commitment to the ethics of reuse by turning discarded objects into artworks.
Like Marcel Duchamp with his readymades, B. Wurtz imbues objects with a new meaning. His work evidences a humility and modesty, an obvious interest in the lowly and unobtrusive, and in these ordinary objects which in his hands acquire a delicate beauty. He emphasises the beauty of the designs themselves, drawing our attention to things which in principle we might otherwise overlook.
B. Wurtz was born in Pasadena, California, in 1948. He lives and works in New York, USA. Throughout his career he has held nearly 150 solo and group shows all over the globe. His major solo shows include B. Wurtz, Metro Pictures Gallery, New York, USA, 2016; Daily Life, Continued, Kunsteverein, Freiburg, Germany, 2015 and Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles. California, USA, 2014. Selected group shows include Neomaterialism, MoBY-Museum of Bat Yam, Israel, 2013; C-o-o-l Art, Misako & Rosen, Tokyo, 2012; and Curious Crystal of Unusual Purity, MoMA PS1, New York, USA, 2004.