Peter Harkawik: Pool Toys

1545 West Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Mar 14, 12 PM - 5 PM — ends May 16, 2021
Marta will host a collection of Peter Harkawik’s Pool Toys in an exhibition of the same name from March 13 to May 16, 2021. Engaging with the visual and material language of serialized, mass-produced retail items, Harkawik’s Pool Toys are semi-fictionalized reproductions of Frank Lloyd Wright’s canonical concrete textile blocks, meticulously rendered in vibrant, pigment-imbued expandable foam. The bountiful assembly of materially-enigmatic building blocks is presented at Marta in a cluster of notional end-cap displays that serve variously as containers and platforms for the works on view.

While Harkawik’s sculptures carefully partake in the aesthetics of an imagined institutional gift shop, each are deceptively elaborate, painstakingly reverse-engineered from studio relief drawings found in the Library of Congress archives. Their candid legibility as colorful, pleasurable items subject to the familiar impulses of self-expression and consumer choice belie their calculated and intensely laborious fabrication: a series of mass-manufacturing processes carried out by-hand in a studio-turned-factory environment.

In modeling the works after Wright’s so-called 'Mayan Revival' projects, Pool Toys softly prods at notions of appropriation and possessorship (e.g. The Ennis House, reclaimed as 'The Blade Runner House'). By replicating these once- and still-revered relics—inherently reproducible, multiple by definition—Harkawik simultaneously magnifies and diminishes their significance, setting up a joyfully complex relationship between the object and its would-be owner.

Peter Harkawik (b. 1982) lives and works in Los Angeles, California. His past works have been shown at the SMC Barrett Gallery, Freddy, Suzanne Geiss Co., Knowmoregames, Gavin Brown's Enterprise, Venus Over Manhattan, and Night Gallery. Harkawik is the proprietor and curator of Real Pain, an artist-operated contemporary art gallery with locations in Los Angeles and New York. He received his MFA in Sculpture from the Yale University School of Art in 2011.