Earlier this year, artist Richard Serra lamented the decline in art appreciation thanks to the digital age. With the Internet and e-mail, people can "see" almost any piece of art in the world, albeit in a digitized format. Is seeing a monitor-size and -scale JPG of the Mona Lisa the same thing as standing in front of the Mona Lisa, Serra asked. The object itself has a weight, a presence, a displacement of time and space that does not translate to a two-dimensional simulacrum, no matter how high the resolution is. And this loss of presence is even more pronounced with sculpture, as Serra certainly knows. The new show at the Philip Slein Gallery (1319 Washington Avenue; 314-621-4634 or www.philipsleingallery.com), Arny Nadler: Beacons, thoroughly crushes the futility of digitization. Nadler's built-steel forms, with their flared bases tapering subtly upward to column-like solidness, are no more than opaque wine bottles in two dimensions. Stand before them, however, and the air around them vibrates as they shoulder their way to heaven; thick and real, they call you to them like the distant lighthouses they resemble. Arny Nadler: Beacons opens with a free public reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, November 7. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, and the show remains up through Tuesday, December 23.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Nov. 7. Continues through Dec. 23, 2008