DCKT Contemporary presents HELEN ALTMAN’s solo exhibition of mixed media works. ALTMAN explores notions of reality versus artificiality in everyday life. Her interest in mimicry and replicas results in objects that are convincing and sincere while simultaneously absurd in their obvious artificiality.

ALTMAN’s Goldfish is a 45 gallon aquarium filled with a multitude of individual cast plastic fish. The faux goldfish in the “feeder tank,” as well as several goldfish bowls on view, address concepts of individuality, loss of identity, overcrowding, separation and loneliness.

Lotus Bed consists of lotus leaf skulls on top of a chenille bedspread with cocoons sewn on. The skulls resemble something an insect would make and the cocoons mimic wasp eggs sometimes laid on living caterpillars that serve as the host for the growing wasp larvae. Here, the bedspread itself (“chenille” translates from French as “caterpillar”) serves as host. The bed becomes a victim and the stand-in for the absent sleeper.

With Weeping Iron, a dialogue between an inanimate object and the missing user is created. A clothes iron sits in an empty laundry basket atop a pile of wrinkled clothing. The iron is in fact a working fountain, weeping as if trapped and overwhelmed by an extraordinary task which it cannot complete.

Also on view will be a selection of ALTMAN’s wire birds and skulls molded from different natural materials.

ALTMAN’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Recent solo exhibitions include the Galveston Arts Center, Dunn and Brown Contemporary (Dallas) and Moody Gallery (Houston). Recent group exhibitions include Walter Maciel Gallery (Los Angeles), University of North Texas Art Gallery (Denton) and the Chelsea Art Museum (New York).

The exhibition will be on view at DCKT Contemporary, 195 Bowery (at Spring Street).
Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11am – 6pm; Saturday, noon – 6pm; Sunday, noon – 5pm.

For further information, please contact Dennis Christie or Ken Tyburski at the gallery.



Helen Altman

Greetings from Home
February 20 - March 28, 2009
Opens February 20, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Installation Views



Helen Altman, Goldfish, 2009

Lotus Bed

Helen Altman, Lotus Bed, 2009

Weeping Iron

Helen Altman, Weeping Iron, 1992

Anisseed Skull

Helen Altman, Anisseed Skull, 2008

Bamboo Skull

Helen Altman, Bamboo Skull, 2008

Glutinous Rice Skull

Helen Altman, Glutinous Rice Skull, 2008


Helen Altman, Goldfish, 2009


Helen Altman, Goldfish, 2009


Helen Altman, Goldfish, 2009

Wren Happy With Its Own Tail

Helen Altman, Wren Happy With Its Own Tail, 2009

Patient Dove

Helen Altman, Patient Dove, 2009

Topknot Wren

Helen Altman, Topknot Wren, 2009

Artichoke Skull

Helen Altman, Artichoke Skull, 2008

Black Sesame Seed Skull

Helen Altman, Black Sesame Seed Skull, 2008

Bai Toey Skull

Helen Altman, Bai Toey Skull, 2008

Shitting Wren

Helen Altman, Shitting Wren, 2009

Silver-tongued Wren

Helen Altman, Silver-tongued Wren, 2009

Wing Song Wren

Helen Altman, Wing Song Wren, 2009

Green Mung Bean Skull

Helen Altman, Green Mung Bean Skull, 2008

Lemongrass Skull

Helen Altman, Lemongrass Skull, 2008

Medulla Junci Skull

Helen Altman, Medulla Junci Skull, 2008

Millet Seed Skull

Helen Altman, Millet Seed Skull, 2008

Peeled Split Mung Bean Skull

Helen Altman, Peeled Split Mung Bean Skull, 2008

Red Cargo Rice Skull

Helen Altman, Red Cargo Rice Skull, 2008

Red Chilli Skull

Helen Altman, Red Chilli Skull, 2008

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