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Full discloser: I’m a super fan of Carol Bove, a Brooklyn sculptor (via Berkeley, via Switzerland) with a MASTERY of visual poetic balance. So to bring you up to speed:

Cuneiforms, 2011

Cuneiforms, 2011

Her work just 5 years ago looked like this. The shells are obviously cool, and the arrangement is great, but the PRIMARY magic for me is the balance between the “found” objects and the “made” apparatus (which includes that concrete & brass pedestal) that holds them.

So now it’s 2016 and, for her first show at David Zwirner Gallery (taking over 2 of their addresses), she’s debuting equally magical, but significantly heavier sculpture, with that same unbelievable sense of balance.

Hylomorph I, 2016

Hylomorph I, 2016

Polka Dots, 2016 / Daphne and Apollo, 2016

Polka Dots, 2016 / Daphne and Apollo, 2016

It’s the same basic concept: visual poetry between something “found” – now huge chunks of rusted scrap metal, paired with something she creates to cradle and complement them – now “new” steel tubing that she crushes and paints a solid bright color.

Installation view of Carol Bove's 'Polka Dots' at David Zwirner Gallery New York

Installation view of Carol Bove’s ‘Polka Dots’ at David Zwirner Gallery New York

Installation view of Carol Bove's 'Polka Dots' at David Zwirner Gallery New York

Installation view of Carol Bove’s ‘Polka Dots’ at David Zwirner Gallery New York

Hylomorph I (detail), 2016

Hylomorph I (detail), 2016

The chunks of metal are often joined by these shiny black circles, the probable source of the exhibition’s title “Polka Dots”. In addition to providing a 3rd note of harmony, they also connect each sculpture to the pure white sculptures in each room, which at first glance, feel like they were done by a different sculptor. I didn’t measure, but it does look like the black discs were cut from the same diameter tube as the white loops.

Snail, 2016

Snail, 2016

Installation view of Carol Bove's 'Polka Dots' at David Zwirner Gallery New York

Installation view of Carol Bove’s ‘Polka Dots’ at David Zwirner Gallery New York

I struggle to explain exactly what makes everything in this exhibition so joyful and calming, which is probably what makes it so perfect. But stepping back, it’s not just the bright colors that interact with the rusted scraps in each individual sculpture: it’s the whole room. Like the collection of shells on a pedestal, everything feels like it’s here for a reason, perfectly harmonizing with the framework (walls, floors, skylights) that holds it all together. The only difference is that now you get to walk through it.

What: Carol Bove: Polka Dots
Where: David Zwirner Gallery, 525 & 533 W 19th St, New York, NY
When: November 5 – December 17, 2016

All 2016 exhibition images courtesy the artist and David Zwirner Gallery New York, photographed by Dan Bradica.
“Cuneiforms” (the early sculpture with shells) appears courtesy of the artist, Maccarone New York/Los Angeles and David Zwirner New York/London

David Behringer visits over 200 galleries every month to uncover and share the most exciting contemporary art in New York today. Subscribe to his exclusive weekly newsletter at www.thetwopercent.com and learn about his private gallery tours. And be sure to check out his YouTube.