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Zach Leener at Tif Sigfrids

Zach Leener’s sculptures at Tif Sigfrids are all without title, and they lack even the honorific “untitled.” This choice feels self-deprecating; I think of Leener’s sculptures that they might decline the status of art objects in the way that Groucho Marx declined to continue as a member of a social club: “Please accept my resignation. I don’t want to belong to a club that will accept me as a member.” 1 This unnamedness feels like an act of resistance on the part of the artist; and I wonder to myself whether I need a formal designation to tell me something is art, and I wonder why this might be so. I think about the space between art objects and objets d’art. I think how confident these objects seem: they are what they are, and if one names them one risks getting it wrong, or missing the point. Leener repeats two basic shapes in the seven artworks on display, and this repetition points equally toward high design specialty retail and the repetition in Minimalist Art. The first claims artisanal status in a manufactured world; the second claims the banality of manufacture in a world of art. Both offer ways for an educated and necessarily wealthy elite to identify itself (and reassure itself) through the display of good taste. Leener’s sculptures cheerfully do none of this. (Well, they are art, so they are in that refined and specialized world of informed choices and considered histories. But they’re weird; they don’t offer camouflage, they stand out.) The exhibition Zachary Leener brings to my mind fond memories of R. Crumb and Zapp Comix,...