cover image Horses: Art of Deborah Butterfield

Horses: Art of Deborah Butterfield

Chronicle Books, Marcia Tucker, Deborah Butterfield. Chronicle Books, $29.95 (95pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-0137-9

More than 60 gorgeous color illustrations of Butterfield's horse sculptures appear in this book, which includes a captivating interview and a thought-provoking critique. The horses here, created between 1973 and 1991, are a ``patchwork of colors68 '' composed of corroded scraps of painted metal, sticks, mud, wood, slate and other media. Butterfield's remarkable ability to suggest an alert, inquisitive or resting flesh-and-blood form with only line, gesture or armorlike twisted metal is well served by these photos; only the pieces' larger-than-life size is difficult to gauge. In an interview with Tucker, director of New York City's New Museum of Contemporary Art, Butterfield tells of her obsession with horses, her artistic ``dialogue with another species,'' her impression that each subsequent sculpture is ``like dancing with a new partner.'' Kuspit ( Alex Katz: Night Painting ) views Butterfield's horses as ``disintegrating'' and symbolic of the ``lacerated, compromised spirit of technological man''; the death images he sees run contrary to Butterfield's own belief that her reclining horses are vulnerable but often alive and even giving birth. (June)