Instant-classic alert! The catalogue for Luxembourg & Dayan’s toothsome summer group show, “The Shaped Canvas, Revisited,” which closed last month, just landed in the office, and it is a beauty.It comes in an elegant square box, which opens to reveal almost 30 miniature cardboard reproductions of the works in the show, with each sharp edge and curve of those shaped canvases lovingly reproduced. (Joshua Shaddock handled the design.)No surprise, the punchiest paintings look the best—there’s a nice Olivier Mosset copper star, an Claes Oldenburg key, a very fine, extroverted Elizabeth Murray (1979’s Twist of Fate), Tom Wesselmann lips blowing smoke, and two prime, minimal 1960s Frank Stellas (one silver V, one bronze L), plus all sorts of other great things.
It’s sort of a hybrid between Duchamp’s Boîte-en-Valise (1935–41; a version is now on view at Gagosian), his Green Box (1934), Carrie Stettheimer’s dollhouse (which contains little replicas of modernist works, many made by their original creators), a trading-card pack, and, um, an art-fair catalogue.It’s also an ideal tool for teachers who want to introduce the joys of modern and contemporary art to young learners, or perhaps collectors who want to get their kids in on the art game early. A colleague points out that a few of the smaller pieces—like a handsome little Justin Adian—may be choking hazards, so make edits as you feel is appropriate. (Personally, for instance, I plan to keep Nate Lowman‘s away from my children as long as possible.)
The box also houses a book with installation shots of the show and a talk between Suzanne Hudson and Stella, who is entertaining, insightful (he gives K.R.H. Sonderborg an interesting shootout), and, on occasion, pleasantly curmudgeon-y.A rep for Luxembourg & Dayan said copies of the catalogue are still available—$35 for the box, $15 for only the booklet. Pretty solid deal.