After Cosima von Bonin’s extensive European traveling retrospective “The Lazy Susan Series” ended at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne in 2011, the artist went into a self imposed pre-retirement, only to be interrupted by another extensive show at MUMOK, Vienna in 2014.
Then she had enough!
That is until 2016 when von Bonin’s decades’ long fascination with the deep-sea was brought to the fore in a traveling sculptural show, “Who’s Exploiting Who in the Deep Sea?” From Glasgow International, to New York’s Sculpture Center, and in 2017 Oakville Galleries, Ontario, von Bonin’s cast of oceanographic characters rippled with mystery, fun and contradiction.
WHAT IF IT BARKS? featuring AUTHORITY PURÉE, von Bonin’s first full scale installation at Petzel’s 18th Street location (her eighth show with the gallery), is marked by more curious incongruities. The artist’s marine motif is updated and extended in the gallery space to a sweeping fish farm: A group of polyester shark heads lurk in the open tops of wooden barrels—each jaw smirks, gnarling a soft toy rocket. Robed mackerel in synchronized display appear alongside bass-guitar and ukulele toting piscine beings, accented by 1970s-style short-board surfboards. But life is not all aquatic: Suspended from the ceiling an open, oversized cat food can exhales contiguous puffs. Printed on the side in white lettering are the words, “AUTHORITY PURÉE”. Von Bonin’s signature ‘rags’ or cloth paintings dangle from the gallery walls and dive deeper into nautical spheres.