Box With the Sound of Its Own Making

A group show, “Box With the Sound of Its Own Making” gets you thinking about process and materials. Two wall-sized posters by Ryan Gander depict a tidy studio where a fluttering blank white sheet of paper has escaped from the artist’s pencil. Text ideas in the background—“Illustrated guide without images”—are waiting to be inscribed, but the errant sheet is resisting its role. Practically empty, Western Bridge’s largest gallery is occupied by a copper water pipe on the floor and an electrical cord running to a bulb (both by Jason Dodge); they’re conduits, means to an end that can’t be separated from their form. The thing is instrumental. Or an instrument, since the show’s name refers to a 1961 Robert Morris sculpture—not on view here, but part of SAM’s permanent collection—that includes an audiotape of its manufacture. Outside the building in the parking lot, the art gets even more conceptual with Use It for What’s It’s Used For, by Eli Hansen and Oscar Tuazon. A concrete slab with titled timbers suggesting a gazebo, lit by solar power, the humble platform was occupied on opening night as a place to smoke, chat, and drink beers. On a warm spring evening, with the buzz of conversation in the air, Use It was useful and even pleasant. Take away the people, however, like the water in the pipe, and it’s empty, nothing worth looking at. BRIAN MILLER [Also see Adriana Grant’s review.]

Thursdays-Saturdays, 12-6 p.m. Starts: May 8. Continues through July 31, 2010