Is Another Man’s Treasure

Photograph Courtesy of Marlborough Gallery

Steven Siegel, not to be mistaken for the action star Steven Seagal, does kick “Fine Art World” butt—proverbially, of course. He has worked with unconventional media, from organic matter to rubbish, for over thirty years creating a dynamic oeuvre. His sculpture’s aesthetics are pervasive, yet his use of abstraction invokes many interpretations. Seemingly, his subject matter is derived from concern for contemporary and global ecological developments. This new site-specific installation alludes to a necessary revision of current social temporality, specifically regarding fine art.

Siegel’s project Biography, 2008-2010, a monumental wall sculpture over seventy-five feet long, encompasses a room during installation. Palpable layers of detritus and man-made materials render a context of temporal, geographical, conceptual and intersubjective discourse. The overwhelming visual experience disrupts canonical sculptural composition by incorporating countless found and natural objects, which indubitably lose form or wilt throughout exhibition. Each component references its origin as well as its decomposition. Attached to the wall, Biography nearly revolts against typical formalistic principals. The viewer must decode iconography and investigate shape and size to fully appreciate the overarching intention. More than twenty-five yards, it is a lot of ground to cover. Pun perhaps intended.

It seems arbitrary to comment on gallery location, yet Siegel’s construction is remarkable in that it may be considered “alternative” due to its use of non-traditional media. Therefore, Biography addresses the paradoxical view of fine art’s permanency and evolution of art, itself. Siegel continues to explore the boundaries between sculpture and installation while exposing significant social issues directly to the viewer.  From January 27th to February 26th, Biography is on display at Marlborough Chelsea’s second floor gallery, bridging ephemeral art back into mainstream artistic discourse.

For more information, please visit either Steven Siegel’s website or Marlborough Chelsea.

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About Megan M. Garwood

Megan M. Garwood is a New York City-based editor, art critic, commentator and aesthetician, as well as the Associate Director at Leslie Feely Gallery on 68th and Madison. Her guilty pleasures include metaethics, morality, conceptual art, and Coney Island side shows. Feel free to contact her via email at
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