For his second solo show at Martos Gallery, NY, Jory Rabinovitz presents oikos love love love,
featuring a new work made from melting coin to copper, and burning down oyster shell into Tabby
concrete. The sculpture will start in the gallery as a sculpture and end as a home for oysters in the New
York Harbor. This work is the first of the artist’s “ethical sculpture” series which uses ethics as a
material, grounded in the idea of a world where capital no longer represents anything real and
algorithms and concepts are more powerful than the “actual” and the inferred material and resources
Primarily made in the Colonialist South East of the United States Tabby concrete was usually formed
by the labor of slaves, not love. First, meticulously burning down oyster shell into lime and then then
slacking it with water and mixing in sand and unfired shell, tabby was used as the primary building
material in coastal areas without lime deposits, and used for everything from building the Plantation
owner’s home, plantation structures, as well as the slaves’ own quarters. In researching tabby
Rabinovitz traveled to the oldest tabby ruins on Jekyll Island, GA most famous for its past of indentured
servitude as well as the local where bankers conceived of the Federal Reserve.
All of the copper for the sculpture in oikos love love love was harvested from U.S. one cent coins as
well as his own sculptures which were once coin as well. Copper, when pure is one of the most volatile
metals to cast, leeching oxygen from the air and staying molten for very short periods of time.
Rabinovitz chose to keep the material true to form and not alloy the metal to cast more efficiently,
creating very rough and bubbled casts.
The single sculpture in the exhibition, The Death of Abel (2018), is a human form made of Tabby, with
an invisible hand, and foot. The currency-cast head and hand are of Abraham Lincoln modified and
replicated from a 3d scan of Volks’ Life Mask and hands of Abraham Lincoln (1860, cast 1886) directly
from the Smithsonian archives. The foot and nearby broken chain come from original casts of a scaled
Statue of Liberty that Rabinovitz took by hand. This cast is from one of only three original casts of the
plaster study that was later scaled up to become the famous neoclassical Bartholdi sculpture on Liberty
Island, once known as one of the Oyster Island due to its abundance of the mollusk.
For the opening of the exhibition guests will be served oysters and encouraged to throw vacant shells
around the sculpture forming the pedestal. The sculpture will then be scanned in the gallery and made
into a 3D printed scale edition and put on view next to its own original. At the end of the exhibition,
the sculpture will be donated to the Billion Oyster Project, as a home for oysters the New York
Harbor. The project’s decade-long mission is to repopulate the oysters New York Harbor, exploiting the
animal’s ability to consume and extrude pollutants in the water. The lime and the rigid service of the
shell in the sculpture will attract oysters to settle while the copper ions of the former currency will
discourage and repel predators from exploiting the defenseless bi-valve.
The process of oysters decontaminating water is called: pseudofeces.
A special thank you goes to The Lighthouse Works Residency and The NYU Laguardia Studios.
For more information on The Billion Oyster project, please visit: billionoysterproject.org
For images or more information about the exhibition, please contact the gallery.
Jory Rabinovitz (b. 1983, Boulder, CO) received a BFA from Cooper Union in 2009. Select exhibitions
include: About a work #8, Galleria Zero, Milan; EBB, Martos Gallery, Los Angeles; Now Showing: Jory
Rabinovitz, Sculpture Center, NY; Eighty Three, Martos Gallery, NY; Do It (outside), Socrates Sculpture
Park, NY. In 2016, Rabinovitz was the recipient of the The Lighthouse Works' Fellowship at Fishers