From in 2001      

Ward Shelley
September 07 - October 15

Ward Shelley’s Cube, currently on view at Pierogi Gallery in Williamsburg, is subtitled “an interactive installatin and viseo project — a sculptural environment for recording video-action portraits.” Translation: Shelley’s structure is a strenuous funhouse, an art-experience machine that invites viewers to subject themselves to its wacky and confining archite4cture. Once a visitor has consented to crawl inside Shelley’s work, which reminds of Gregor Schneider’s Venice Biennale prizwinning replica of his childhood home, he or she must negotiate narrow passageways and crevices, wriggle up chutes and down tunnels through the cubical maze while fifteen live-feed cameras record a live-action portrait. Part behhaviorist experiment, part corny amusement park attraction, Shelley’s sculpture toys with formal issues of depth and flatness, reflectivity and spacial deception, while its literal engagement with the audience summons up Outward Bound-style confrontations with one’s own capabilities for derring-do and calm under pressure, management of physical and psychological difficulty, and reactions to confinement and exposure. For the fainthearted, an expanding library of other people’s portraits is available for viewing. The gung-ho gallerygoer wishing to be filmed must call Pierogi for an appointment with the artist.

Frances Richard