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American Sculpture

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Buddha with Wall

21st century
203.2 cm x 208.3 cm x 101.6 cm (80 in. x 82 in. x 40 in.)

Rachel Harrison (New York, New York, 1966 - ) Primary

Object Type: sculpture
Artist Nationality: North America, American
Medium and Support: Wood, Styrofoam, white Portland cement, Parex adhesive, acrylic paint, and plastic statue on plywood base
Credit Line: Partial and pledged gift of Jeanne and Michael Klein, 2005
Temp ID: T2005.1.1/2-2/2

Known for her startling, often humorous combinations of found objects, Rachel Harrison questions notions of value and meaning in her sculptures. In "Buddha with Wall," the viewer encounters a rough, concrete-covered wall incised with goldpainted lines that form an overall abstract composition. The wall sits on the floor without explanation, blurring distinctions between architecture, sculpture, and painting, and teasingly obscures something from sight. Behind it, a large, grinning plastic Buddha wearing a white and gold robe unexpectedly greets the viewer. The Buddha, salvaged from a defunct storefront church by the artist, contradictorily represents both a mass-produced kitsch object and a hand-painted religious sculpture. Composed of two seemingly disparate elements, the work employs figuration and abstraction to explore themes of religion and commodification, as well as modes of production and display. For Harrison, her work is about “putting subjects together, not objects together.”

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