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Asterisms Gabriel Orozco

Picasso Black and White is stealing the limelight at the Guggenheim right now, which is a shame because Gabriel Orozco's Asterisms shines. The show is split between two media – photo and sculpture – and two parts - Sandstars and Astroturf Constellation. Sandstars is comprised of 1,200 found objects washed up and collected on Isla Arena, Mexico, "a whale mating ground, whale cemetery, and industrial wasteland." The objects are organized on the gallery floor taxonomically and further by color. The objects are supplemented by 12 large photographs cataloging all the objects, with a 13th showing the stretch of beach where they were found. Astroturf Constellation is the micro to Sandstar's macro. With similar sculptural arrangement and photographic cataloging, it seeks to order 1,200 (again) objects – ranging from bits of chewing gum to shards of soccer balls – found on the playing fields at New York's own Pier 40. One can't help but think about how each of these things ended up in the ocean, much less in New York City. The objects are slightly tragic in their representation of environmental degradation but are such a wonderful mix of color, texture, and barnacle-covered environment that they're aesthetically captivating and avoid casting a somber shadow. The photos feel supplemental, like an appendix to the sculpture – a handy addition rather than feeling superfluous. There are things easily missed in the objects that are revealed by the photos, and in the case of Astroturf Constellation, the arrangement of the individual photos comprising the whole gridded image is artful in itself. Go for Orozco, stay for Picasso – a worthy trip.Guggenheim