Tim Hawkinsons art is the sort of intense, highly personal and often self-referential work that manages through humor and sheer obsessive force to be both accessible and awe-inspiring. Its often at least a little bit grotesque, but his sculptures and works on paper and canvas flirt with the sublime often enough that it really is worthy of multiple viewings, even though at first it often appears to be a cheap joke. In all of these senses, Hawkinsons stuff is comparable to the works of Charles Ray, Tom Friedman and Mike Kelley. The companion catalogue to the Whitney Museum-mounted large-scale retrospective finally gives Hawkinson his due. Lawrence Rinders essay gives plenty of clearly-written art historical context to Hawkinsons strange contraptions, while Howard N. Fox speaks of Hawkinsons near monk-like "sacramental energy." The design is crisp and unobtrusive; the only quibble at all is the use of the Courier font and the fact that the books covers are made of a porous material, so be careful to wash your hands before you hold the thing. Inside youll find a functioning organ made out of plastic the size of a football field, a bird skeleton made out of nail clippings, a ball made of spoons, a functioning extension cord worn into a knot, a human skeleton fashioned from dog bones, and much more. Hawkinson really turns the world inside out. --Mike McGonigal
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