Dennis Oppenheim (1938- )
These hand-crafted kettles and pots initially appear amusing, as if they are renegades from Alice in Wonderland’s tea party or Jolly Green Giant’s kitchen. Fashioned from modern materials to imitate the surface and color of more traditional bronze sculpture, they stand like proud but highly self-conscious, individuals engaged in some cryptic conversation.
A continuous running tape hidden inside the oversized utensils provides clues. In garbled tones, the pots and kettles call each other black. This is an old accusation, laced with arrogance and hypocrisy. These distasteful characteristics are suggested in the kettles’ stiff posture arched handles, and aggressive spouts just as they are implied in the rotund snugness of the pots, whose tops slide back as if “giving lip.”