Spiral Trap

Private collection © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Espiral, a 1955 piece by Jesús Soto. The master and instigator of kinetic art, predecessor of perceptual tricksters like Olafur Eliasson or Iván Navarro, and pioneer of the very idea of interactivity is at the center of “Soto: Paris and Beyond, 1950-1970,” a spellbinding show at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery. It focuses on the era just after the Venezuela-born Soto had moved to France, where an international contingent of artists converged to experiment with new tactics, new media, new dimensions. Soto was obsessed with “activating spatial dynamism and sensorial instability,” as the gallery puts it. In this piece he has floated Plexiglas, painted with radiating geometric patterns, over wood painted with more. But you can’t get the full impression from an image. Set yourself in motion to see the trippy work in person—and explore a vanguard often neglected by our New York-centric institutions—before the exhibition closes March 31.

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