Art Arcade

The Margulies Collection is more recreational than rarefied

Upon exiting the room, visitors are met with the pungent scent of spices perfuming one of the main galleries. It emanates from one of Ernesto Neto's abstract installations, in which the artist used gossamer-thin fabric to fashion a network of membranes that droop from the ceiling in an almost organic way. The piece suggests a gargantuan cow udder, its teats filled with white pepper, cumin, and cloves.

Yukinori Yanagi's Asia Pacific reflects his investigations into cross-cultural boundaries and issues of nationalism, ideology, and politics through the use of ant farms. Using colored sand, the artist created flags of the world and placed them in 42 Plexiglas boxes before loosing a colony of ants, which tunneled from flag to flag through clear plastic tubing connecting the boxes. Yanagi then lured the insects out with honey before plasticizing the sand for posterity.

The Margulies Collection is exhibiting a couple of works by Jason Rhoades, the brash Los Angeles sculptor who died of heart failure at age 41 this past August. Shelf (Fur Pie) is one of the pieces from his notorious solo show "Meccatuna" at the David Zwirner gallery in New York in 2003.

Jackie Nickerson's photos of nuns are among the most magnetic portraits on display
Jackie Nickerson's photos of nuns are among the most magnetic portraits on display

For the work, the artist heaped hundreds of slang substitutes for the word vagina in neon atop chrome-plated shelves. Margulies's Rhoades sculpture features lights spelling out cum bucket, clamato fountain, and velvet glove. The tangle of words is crammed into a steel rack, along with 69 ceramic donkeys, in a piece that sprays a corner of the gallery with a shameless, lurid glow.

One of the space's other crowd magnets is Barry McGee's overturned truck installation, featuring a wildly painted wood-panel interior housing fifteen TV sets. Twitchy cartoons and tattooed graffiti rats spray-painting walls pepper the screens.

"We are basically an educational foundation and do a lot of work with students considered at-risk and from neglected inner-city areas. We get very excited when we come across work that these kids can relate to and that fits in with what we are doing here," Hinds says.

Leaving the Warehouse, spectators might feel as if they've just visited a funhouse arcade rather than a hands-off collection. They will also find it a relief to encounter a space with its sights set beyond the obvious categories, and one that's free to the public.

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