At Judy Ledgerwood’s studio, I noticed a post-it note on her studio wall that led to an impromptu visit with her husband, the sculptor Tony Tasset. The artists have a home in the western Chicago suburb of Oak Park with a two-story building in the backyard housing both of their studios.
Tasset uses deadpan humor to drive home ideas in his work, while at the same time conversing with art historical tropes, particularly those of Conceptual art and Minimalism. For example, one piece I had seen earlier that week at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago was a horizontal row of three cubes mounted to the wall. It resembled a sculpture by Donald Judd from afar, but upon closer inspection, you realize it’s a set of padded seat stools with upholstery buttons. Some other works include Boxed Set (1988), a square with rectangular inlays similar to packaging for crackers or chocolates, and Abstraction with Cardboard Corners (1990), a blank painting canvas with four protective cardboard corners.
The carved pumpkin (above), which went through a moldy phase but is now desiccated, was the model for Tasset’s oil painted bronze sculpture, Rotting Pumpkin (2006, pictured right). It has since become a permanent fixture in his studio. Tasset agreed it could be considered a mascot. And, as it happened, it was the third example I had photographed in Chicago that week involving mold.