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Review: Benjamin Young’s Material Affair at Appendix

By Lisa Radon October 31, 2009


One can’t look at Benjamin Young’s work for his solo show “Material Affair” at Appendix Project Space and not think that this is what might have resulted had Carl Andre lightened up a little. Young, too, deals with straightforward, working class materials: steel rods, chunks and slabs of wood, black rubber bungee cords, clamps. Of these, Young makes unfussy compositions, using at most three materials together. The fanciest Young gets is in joining lengths of steel rod with jute cord into an improvised trestle, and even here, Young is not being clever but utilitarian in a Swiss Family Robinson kind-of way that feels sincerely experimental…what would happen if and how can I? Otherwise, things are more or less let alone to be what they are: the crosscut slab of tree is made weightless hanging from a rafter via bungee cords, the three weathered lengths of wood stacked on end are bridged with an orange cord anchored with cantilevered clamps. It’s this last, in particular, that seems like a whimsical Andre. And on the wall, the roads not taken, welding sticks in a quiver, an exploded lightweight bungee cord, and a piece of netting hung by a thread.

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