Lidija Haas reviews Marisa Merz: The Sky is a Great Space at the Met Breuer, New York, on view through May 7, 2017.
Haas writes: “What appear to be Merz’s most recent works – paintings of large saintlike female figures in rich golds and reds and blues – seem a little less subtle than the earlier pieces. Yet from the 1960s work onwards, some sly, whimsical jokes emerge about the feminine, the maternal, and the domestic. In the case of the exquisite shoes that could almost be instruments of torture and the copper wires splaying out to hold down a miniature chair, the use of humble materials and the blurring of lines between gallery art and everyday experience, both characteristic of Arte Povera more broadly, have a slightly different, sharper valence. … Merz is in no way a polemicist, but it’s possible to find implied here some bracing questions about what kinds of work (produced in what kinds of conditions) are accorded value.”