Not the yacht man

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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.

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tobias rehrberger

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