Not the yacht man

Tobias Rehrberger's Stealth boat/coffin at Petzel gallery. Click image to see it bigger. And see pictures of the inside at my flickr.
Tobias Rehrberger’s Stealth boat/coffin at Petzel gallery. Click image to see it bigger. And see pictures of the inside at my flickr.

We stumbled into Chelsea’s Petzel Gallery because I spied a big black whatizit through the window and wanted to go look. We had no idea. It looked like a huge, arty trash dumpster with orange handles here and there on the tippy top. I walked around looking for a door to peek inside but finding none I got bored. Then Steve said somebody’s inside. I said how? He said, there’s a door underneath. I said, hmmm, can I do this? So I crawled down on hands and knees and inched my way to the square portal. I stood up inside just long enough to know that it was a boat of some kind, with ribs, a ladder to a second floor and no furniture or portholes or anything. More like a coffin than a boat on second thought.

My note-taking was non-existent at that point so thank you artnet for this information:

The “Death Star” arrived in Chelsea a few weeks ago, or so it seemed to visitors to Friedrich Petzel Gallery, site of a looming black Stealth Bomber-like vessel, a boat actually, sitting on a heavy steel cradle and barely fitting in a space demarcated by column, wall and ceiling. Titled American Traitor Bitch, the boat is the work of German artist Tobias Rehberger (b. 1966), whose objects tend to be fabricated after a process of translation and reinterpretation. In this case, the design of the boat was based on the memories of the Danish-Vietnamese artist Danh Vo of the Danish tanker that picked him up as a small child, fleeing Vietnam with hundreds of other boat people.

Visitors to the gallery can climb up inside the boat, which is minimally appointed, though it has a few fittings in fluorescent scarlet. The electric and propulsion system remain to be installed, presumably by the buyer of the boat, which is priced at $250,000.

The boat was made of mahogany and in the back room were a bunch of what looked like wrapped Christmas presents on the floor. They, too, were made of mahogany.

The whole thing was less than and I just don’t get the bigness of it. Although I did think the big black one resembled the evil twin of Holiday Home, the dearly departed Pepto Bismol pink hulk-like structure at the ICA so maybe it’s got some architecture chops.


tobias rehrberger



Sign up to receive Artblog’s weekly updates and monthly Our Picks sent directly to your inbox.

Subscribe Today!

Send this to a friend