Thinking Inside the Box: The Art of Andrew Krieger
Andrew Krieger’s work has been described variously as whimsical and wistful, incisive yet ineffable. Careful examination of his art reveals a corpus that is alternately delightful and disturbing, equal parts mysterious and mundane. In many of these skillfully realized drawings and mixed media constructions the artist juxtaposes familiar references to daily life with profound ideas about the ongoing, and oft times deleterious, effects of technology. The Corcoran’s exhibition includes early drawings, prints, and mail poems, as well as later architectural designs for kiosks, bus platforms and waiting stations, and three-dimensional box works. This retrospective affords the opportunity to trace the artist’s development in the context of thirty years of work. From the beginning, Krieger created graphics and tableaux vivants en papier that integrated overt puns with a Dadaist sense of the absurd. Although continuing to utilize similar themes, the newer works demonstrate a greater use of color, and an evolving sense of energy and excitement. Krieger’s lines and forms have an increasing potential for movement and the architectural spaces have a greater depth as he has continued his exploration of interior spaces.
The artist has lived and worked in the District of Columbia for more than twenty years. As a sculptor, draughtsman, and printmaker, Krieger uses a wide variety of materials but he has focused on both two- and three-dimensional works on paper. Among his most memorable pieces are the mixed media constructions within which he communicates complex ideas, concepts and social commentary. Critics and viewers often have commented on the three-dimensional aspects of Krieger’s work, christening him a latter day Joseph Cornell and categorizing him as a box artist. He isn’t offended by the tag, an easy entree into some of the more visceral issues, designs and commentary that his works offer as they unfold. Krieger’s mixed media boxes are miniature alternative universes. They suspend objects in limbo, preserving them and the space they inhabit as precious memories fixed in time, alive with a spirit and breath all their own. Many of the works are presented as stage sets, open to the audience to join in: the curtains are drawn, the lights have come on, and another quirky world is calling for anyone willing to step forward and inquire.
Thinking Inside the Box: the Art of Andrew Krieger is organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and by Eric Denker, curator of prints and drawings. The exhibition has been made possible by generous support provided by the Gladys Nelson Smith Fund and by private donors. Additional thanks are due to the National Gallery of Art, Lorene Emerson, and Crane Rental Company for their kind assistance with the exhibition.