If there are better symbols for the modern Western lifestyle than giant stuffed animals and luxury lifestyle branding melded with chronic fatigue, I'm too lazy to discern them — besides, look at my shoes. Conceptual artist Cosima von Bonin holds up a fun-house mirror to contemporary society and shows us the venality and apathy of our extended childhoods by fabricating enormous, lethargic stuffed animals flopped on sleek, minimalist sculptural furniture. These pieces are accompanied by electronic soundtracks crafted by her collaborator, Moritz von Oswald, completing the picture of status-obsessed lurkers who can barely be bothered to watch the world go by. Obviously, there's a degree of satire at play, but von Bonin also touches on darker themes of apathy and avarice in her work; we recognize our sloth but do little to change it. Cosima von Bonin: Character Appropriation, the artist's first solo Midwestern exhibition, opens with a free public reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 6, at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum on Washington University's campus (Forsyth and Skinker boulevards; kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu or 314-935-4523). The gallery is open every day except Tuesday, and the work remains up through Monday, August 1.
Mondays, Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: May 6. Continues through Aug. 1, 2011