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  • Source: Art in America
  • Author: Leigh Anne Miller
  • Date: June 16, 2016
  • Format: DIGITAL

Terence Koh

Exhibition Review

"terence koh: bee chapel," 2016. Installation image courtesy of the artist and Andrew Edlin Gallery. Photo: Olya Vysotskaya

It’s clear from the sidewalk that something unusual is going on at Andrew Edlin Gallery. There’s a metal contraption decorated with a rainbow sticker (solar panels, it turns out), with tubes running into the gallery. Inside, as you progress from the cluttered front desk area (filled with books, small sculptures, beeswax collages, and tchotchkes), to the various darkened rooms that Koh has transformed with dirt trucked in from New Jersey, you’re enveloped in a low, droning sound and a mysteriously sweet odor. A decaying apple tree named Harriet lies prone on the floor in one room under red light. The wires on the ceiling pipe in solar energy from outside, as if Koh is trying to nurse the tree back to health with a single sun-powered bulb. The next room is pitch black save for a beeswax candle burning from both ends. A microphone hangs from the ceiling, recording the vibrations produced by the flames. Finally you arrive at the Bee Chapel, an installation that shares its title with the exhibition: a staircase made of dirt leads to a small, domed, hivelike chapel made of wax and wood. Koh—known for his shaved head and all-white attire, and for art projects like selling his gold-plated feces and circumnavigating a giant pile of salt on his knees—quit the art world in 2014 and moved to the Catskills. It’s not surprising, then, that his reemergence involves bringing his own strain of mysticism-meets-country-living to the Bowery.