Untitled (Plastic Cups) - Tara Donovan

Tara Donovan
Tara Donovan (b. 1969, New York) is an American artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She is known for site-specific installation art that utilizes everyday materials whose form is in keeping with generative art.

Tara Donovan, who won a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation “genius” award last week, has drawn attention over the last decade for her ability to transform huge quantities of prosaic manufactured materials — plastic-foam cups, pencils, tar paper — into sculptural installations that suggest the wonders of nature.

Her first major museum show, a traveling retrospective, opens on Oct. 10 at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston.The retrospective will include many of the works that made her name, like the series “Bluffs” (2006), which she created by gluing hundreds of thousands of clear shirt buttons together into craggy peaks that recall white coral reefs or stalagmites. To construct “Untitled (Plastic Cups)” (2006), which must be freshly built each time it is shown, she stacks millions of transparent plastic cups in a tight, rigorous grid and sculptures the swaying piles into gentle waves that suggest a cross-section of a pixilated landscape. (Like much of her work, it can be expanded or contracted to fit the space.)

To some in the art world, the appeal of Ms. Donovan’s work lies in its relationship to Minimalism, as propounded by the likes of Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt and Eva Hesse. Nicholas Baume, the Institute of Contemporary Art’s/Boston chief curator, who instigated the retrospective says, “Tara’s work isn’t ironic. It actually takes up the discourse of Minimalism. It’s about creating a system, using a structure, and repeating incremental units that can go from the finite to the seemingly infinite.”

link: The Genius of Little Things By Carol Kino — The New York Times


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