When I first went to see Timothy Blum’s re-creations of familiar objects and icons I expected an overt critique of our material surroundings. Instead his meanings were opaque–but that allowed me to feel a sense of wonder. Eye of the Needle is a life-size rendition of R.J. Reynolds’s cigarette-box camel, with a skin made of dried tobacco leaves. You could spend all day debating the conceptual undertones, but standing close to the camel’s neck I could hear the tobacco leaves crackle. The show’s other highlights merge bizarre ideas and exquisite craftsmanship. For Slouching & Woebegone Blum made six Pabst cans out of liposuction fat, placed them atop an aluminum casting of a Styrofoam cooler, and used wires to connect the entire apparatus to a small refrigeration unit. In All Hock, an’ No Spit a full-size Captain America stands on a wooden platform that’s strapped to the rump of a plaster zebra. Sociological commentary or just a joke? Blum deserves applause for letting the viewer decide. Virginia A. Groot Foundation Gallery, 215 W. Superior, suite 200, through March 15. Hours are 10 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday; 312-337-4658.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Saverio Truglia.