Ben Stone

Art in America January 28, 2011

Photo: Ben Stone: Blue Meanies, 2010, ballpoint pen on coated polystyrene and wood; at Western Exhibitions.

Claes Oldenburg’s statement “I am for an art that imitates the human, that is comic . . . or violent, or whatever is necessary” can readily be applied to the art of Ben Stone, whose six recent works explore pathos in contemporary American life, particularly as manifested by tragi-comic characters in his native Chicago. Much of Stone’s work—mainly sculpture, but also video and performative acts—tends to be concerned with aberrant human behavior, specifically in the contexts of sports and familial conflicts. (He once had a police restraining order issued against himself, and he built a robot to officiate at his own wedding.) Combining traditional art-historical forms, such as portrait busts and sculptural tableaux, with a handmade esthetic, he elevates the most banal subject to the level of cultural icon.

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