Asher, R. Review, artUS, Issue 18, May/June, 2007, p. 29 (reproduction).
I once knew an acting teacher who, in the name of keeping it real, claimed it was impossible for an actor to do two things at once. I don’t know if it’s the same for artists, but Ziperstein is certainly one exception that proves the rule. Not only is she able to have it both ways – her work is both funny and serious – but another way as well – it’s dumb-smart.
While still a graduate student at Cal Arts, Ziperstein was already exhibiting in shows like “10 × 10: 8 Week Lease (RELUCTANT MONUMENT)” (San Francisco Art Commission Gallery, 2005), for which she repeatedly rearranged flattened cardboard boxes according to the dimensions of a commercial storage space, pointing to the out-of-control consumerist mania for storing things. But the smarts in her work don’t stop there. Making serial reconfigurations of modular units also brings to mind Carl Andre and Sol LeWitt, and as a reviewer of one of her “box” shows once quipped, Mel Bochner, Dr. Seuss, and Monty Python as well.
For “(This Isn’t Happening) Popular Hallucinations for Your Home” at BANK, her first commercial show, Ziperstein continues in the same dumb-smart vein. As the press release explains, the artist made over 50 foam core and plaster additions to her home in a twisted Better Homes and Gardens style, lived among them for three months (often to some discomfort) and then had them photographed in situ before trashing them. We are further assured that, “It was essential that the (eight light jet) photographs replicate the quality of a high-end magazine spread because the work is a comments on the utopian lifestyles proffered by home décor magazines.” One can easily imagine Ziperstein chuckling all the way the BANK.
Apart from these framed “objects,” Ziperstein has distributed between the gallery’s two rooms five site-specific sculptures – half thrift shop, half minimalist-inspired plaster-over-foam-core white ware. There’s nothing special about the found objects – picture frame, lamp, plastic figure, or wine rack – that anchor each of these sculptures decorated with a simple geometric white plaster addition/extension, like a minimalist sculpture gone haywire. The work is formulaic and the formula doesn’t change, operating very much like a readymade joke – she starts with an actual readymade, throws in a second readymade – the “look’ of minimalism – and them ties everything together with her own whimsical, idiosyncratic take on their intersection.
The same goes for the eight glossy photographs documenting the “modifications” to Ziperstein’s 1920s Spanish-style apartment, for which purpose she hired photographer Grant Mudford (a regular contributor to House and Garden, Architectural Digest and Architectural Record). His luminous shoot resembles pages ripped from a fashion magazine, which is pretty much how Ziperstein wants them to look. What’s especially smart (and dumb) about Ziperstein’s show is that everything in it functions as self-advertising. She has turned BANK into a showroom and used the opening to announce the release of a new product line, which you may happily purchase for your home. Since every potential collector owns something that can serve as a readymade for one of her sculptural interventions, Ziperstein’s site-(un)specificity has the potential of proliferating endlessly. Already a kind of Derridean supplement, one simultaneously beholds the commodification of artworks and the artification of commodities. Now that’s funny. And smart. And who knows, seriously bankable.