Art: Nowhere to Sit Down

What is made of wire, plywood, silver foil, Cor-Ten steel, pins or plastic flowers? What is by turns rigid, pulpy, fat, skeletal, fretted, glittery and flaccid? What is made half of wood and half of rainbow-colored wool; has wheels that can't turn, and a spike to skewer the unwary bottom? What balances on four legs along a wooden beam, or pops like some disconcerting jack from a polka-dotted box? Anyone who went to Manhattan's Pace Gallery last week to see Lucas Samaras' latest exhibition will immediately know the answer: a chair.

At first the show looks like an exercise in frustration: a...

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