Backyard Story, by Haim Steinbach, 1997

Haim Steinbach, Artist
Backyard Story , 1997

Painted steel and particleboard shelving unit, cotton clothesline, wood clothespins, cotton clothing and underwear, painted metal grills, plastic jack-o'-lanterns, wood logs
112 x 297 x 36 in. (284.5 x 754.4 x 91.4 cm)
Credit Line
Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York. Image courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

In Haim Steinbach's oddly beautiful, conceptually precise, and disarmingly humorous works, objects behave semiotically, like words or gestures. As with most of Steinbach's works, the elements in Backyard Story play double roles: the shelves act as both an armature and a framing device—simultaneously a display mechanism and part of the artwork—and the individual objects are both what they are and formal elements in a deliberately articulated composition. Steinbach puts one thing next to another in unexpected ways so that we may contemplate the precise attributes and associations of individual objects. Lined up in rows or tidily scattered about on platforms or shelves, his objects (purchased, found, gifted, and borrowed) are always thoughtfully arranged, crafted like words into poems.