Corin Hewitt

March 19, 2009 at 12:15pm

VCU Student Commons Theater

The aroma of simmering veggies that pervades the Whitney Museum lobby these days does not emanate from Sarabeth’s Kitchen downstairs, but from an art installation in the ground-floor gallery. The piece is called “Seed Stage.” It’s by Corin Hewitt, who is from Vermont and lives in Brooklyn. Its ingredients include performance, photography, sculpture and cooking.  During the run of his show, Mr. Hewitt has been spending three days a week in the gallery, or more precisely inside a small, very crowded enclosure built there. The cramped space, which can be viewed from outside through cutaway corners but entered only by the artist… [is] equipped with many varieties of hardware for food preparation. Fresh produce is in ready supply from a root cellar rigged up under the gallery floor. A built-in composting system recycles waste and keeps the earth in the cellar moist and rich.  “Mr. Hewitt simmers high culture and low culture together in his art and adds pinches of personal content. His sculpture “Union Street” (2003) looked abstract but was a miniature model of the ill-fated 1970s space station Skylab that he made of dirt from under his childhood home in Vermont. Inserted inside the piece was a diorama of the interior of his grandmother’s house, where he had watched the crashing descent of the spacecraft on television.  For a Public Art Fund commission installed at MetroTech Center in Brooklyn in 2005, he created a 21-foot rainbow arch from New York street debris collected from sweeper trucks and compacted into solid form. Composed mostly of dirt and gravel, his monumental symbol of multiculturalism and gay liberation was almost black” dark, perhaps, for a utopian emblem, but grounded, as few utopias are, in the grit of everyday life.”

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