via Artnet, Weekend Update, 5/12/06:
In his first show at Andrea Rosen Gallery, the artist Josiah McElheny presents the show-stopping An End to Modernity (2005), ostensibly a scientifically accurate model of the Big Bang, via 255 chrome-plated aluminum poles and approximately 1,000 hand-blown glass globes and discs, hanging from the ceiling like a chandelier in god’s drawing room. Originally commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts, the work is posited as a hybrid of science and design, and therefore imagined as "modernism’s explosive demise" -- a conceit that may be of largely academic interest, especially faced with McElheny’s uncanny skill.
The Entire Universe On a Dimmer Switch
By DOROTHY SPEARS
WHEN the artist Josiah McElheny said he wanted to build a sculpture that evoked both the modernist chandeliers at the Metropolitan Opera House and the Big Bang theory, Dr. David Weinberg, a professor of astronomy at Ohio State University, whom he had approached for advice, said, ''My very first thought was 'Good luck!' ''
''I think he was skeptical,'' agreed Mr. McElheny, 39, recalling their first meeting in September 2004. ''Conceptually, it's already a problem to create a model of the history of the universe. Then, there I was -- this artist -- wanting to make a scientifically accurate model based on a 1960's design object.''
Mr. McElheny was in the early phases of an artist's residency at Ohio State at the Wexner Center for the Arts, which had commissioned the piece. At his first meeting with Dr. Weinberg, Mr. McElheny said, ''Two things happened. One: David saw that I was serious. And two: he understood that I was prepared to go the full distance, that this was not a perfunctory gesture.''
What began as a crash course in the history of cosmology eventually led to ''The End of Modernity'' (2005), a 10-by-15-foot sculpture that demonstrates visual and historical parallels between the Big Bang theory and the Met chandeliers. Combining 1,000 blown-glass globes and cast-glass discs with roughly 5,000 individual metal parts, ''The End of Modernity'' hangs at eye level, with the bottom of the work hovering six inches above the floor. [...]