Oscar Tuazon at the DeCordova

When "idea art" is successful, it doesn't need the curator's remarks to make sense, to make an impact. When we were up at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln the other day, many works, unfortunately, fell into that trap: if you didn't know the back story -- where the artist went to do the art, what their theoretical rationale was, etc. -- the work had little or no power.

One piece there that needed no explanation, but which nevertheless continues to succeed and even gain strength when subjected to analysis, is Oscar Tuazon's Partners, created in October 2014. This elegant piece consists of an elbow structure made of concrete that attaches to a sugar maple tree. This piece meets my first criterion of idea art: it must be visually successful, or beautiful, or engaging, in and of itself, on its own terms. And like any good art, there must be tension. Are these elements (and everything they represent) in a symbiotic relationship of support, or are they battling like two sumo wrestlers momentarily still in the center of the ring?


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