A R T L E T T E R
The Timely Magazine of Art
|#10||<!>previous/ next>!> Artletter index||August 1, 1995|
Laurie Waller at Firehouse Gallery 8/12 Four bodies of work which share a lack of conviction, relying on vague cliches and designey execution to cover for an unwillingness to say anything in particular. Birdsong at Midnight superimposes bird heads over a houseplan, making the trite connection between home and nest, and contrasting this connection with the even more trite brooding melodrama of smeared charcoal. Works in the Where Do I Draw the Line series juxtapose patterns of pointing hands interrupted by meaningless white boxes as if fulfilling the requirements of a school design project in an attempt, I believe, to show the confusion of "drawing the line", whatever that is. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and Three Square Meals evoke the association of moral uprightness with meals, but the artist's purpose in showing us this familiar household tyrrany is illegible.-B.D. Julie Broberg at Sally Sprout Gallery 8/12 In some works (e.g. Mistah Kurtz-is Dead), reliance on the familiar colors, words, shallow fields and even specific images (crowns) of Jean Michel Basquiat demand a comparison. Basquiat's patchy paintings captured a swirling urban landscape while brilliant image/text combinations mined history to create movement through multiple planes, but although appropriation lends Mistah Kurtz. . . significance, best results occur when the artist goes it alone, as in Bottle Feet, Boiled String and Eggs and the tiny, unassuming Cakewalk. Like codes or puzzles, these etchings are intimate and calculated, and the scale seems just right for the artist's delicate touch. If the text never rises to Basquiat's complexity and bitter wit, what the hell? Who can afford Jean Michel?- Elizabeth McBride Neo-Dada at the CAM 9/10 Works which were a slap in the face when new are held at a comfortable distance from the present. Manzoni's Artist's Shit is still faintly disgusting even in a can, in a glass case, 24 years later. Tinguely's unmoving Metamatic #2 is dead; Duchamp's Trebuchet (Trap) is raised safely out from underfoot on a pedestal. Oldenburg's Liver Sausage with Slices is still fresh. Take a sausage, make a sculpture of it. A simple idea, in the long tradition of Dutch food art, but no one has done it so well since. Dadaism invites participation: anyone can make art, anything can be art. Especially pleasing for its purity is Klein's Zone of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility, which I imagine as slightly larger than the CAM building itself.-B.D. Address letters to: Bill Davenport, 801 Tulane St., Houston TX 77007 Mail subscriptions $25/year. Look for Artletter11 on August 15.