Entertainment & Arts

Artist Norberto Rodriguez invites you to rest in his beautifully minimalist coffins

“The Bed You Made” by Norberto Rodriguez at Bed & Breakfast gallery in Arlington Heights.
(Norberto Rodriguez)

At first glance, it’s the sort of bedroom that evokes the swank minimalism of design magazine dwellings and trendy hotels. White walls. Black carpet. Austere furnishings made from unvarnished plywood. On the wall, hang two bare neon tubes.

But look again, and the dark humor emerges.

There is no bed. Instead, only a pair of slim boxes, each equipped with mattress and pillow. To one side rest a pair of wood boards that could serve as lids. A small decorative tray holds a hammer and nails.

If Donald Judd had been a funeral director instead of a sculptor, one imagines this is what he would have built.

The Bed You Made by Norberto Rodriguez
"The Bed You Made," by Norberto Rodriguez is a funereal domestic setting in an apartment gallery. Norberto Rodriguez

The installation, by L.A.-based artist Norberto Rodriguez, toys with artistic pieties — especially that of minimalism, with its fetish for visually soothing materials and colors (a tendency that critic Kyle Chayka has described as bearing a streak of “Puritanical asceticism”).

“Art is pious,” says Rodriguez. “That’s a problem.”

Currently on view through Sunday at Bed & Breakfast gallery, an informal art space located inside a private apartment in Arlington Heights, visitors are not only welcome to observe the work, they are invited to step into and lay down in Rodriguez’s “resting places.” The nonclaustrophobic may even opt for a lid.

The Bed You Made by Norberto Rodriguez
Rodriguez's "resting places" came with lids — which viewers could choose to have placed over them. Norberto Rodriguez

On Sunday at noon, the show will come to an end with a special closing reception that will include a meditation session led by the artist, along with fresh scones baked by Bed & Breakfast co-founder Jacqueline Falcone. (She refers to these as her “Falscones.”)

It’s all very homey — of the funeral kind.

The Bed You Made by Norberto Rodriguez
In one corner of the installation was a small box with a hammer and nails — which hinted to the boxes ultimate purpose. Norberto Rodriguez

“The bed you made”

Where: Bed & Breakfast gallery, Arlington Heights

When: A closing reception with meditation will be held on Sunday, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.; at other times, visits can be arranged by appointment

Admission: Email the gallery via their website for location information



2017 — the year the art came down

Best architecture in 2017: In a tough year, plenty of highlights

Best art in 2017: Our critic's top 10 exhibitions, plus one very big worry

A bilingual painting and how the Huntington's ‘Visual Voyages’ changes the story of art and science

Get our daily Entertainment newsletter