"ON THE PLEASURE OF HATING: LOVE TURNS, WITH A LITTLE INDULGENCE, INTO INDIFFERENCE OR DISGUST; HATRED ALONE IS IMMORTAL."
Lisa Cooley Fine Art
By MICHAEL WILSON
One of the more amusing talking points on pop critic Simon Reynolds’s Blissblog lately has been the idea of updating Johnny Rotten’s I HATE PINK FLOYD T-shirt to target some sacred cows of new music. The game has legs enough to suggest that William Hazlitt may have been onto something with “On the Pleasure of Hating,” an 1823 essay exploring the still-provocative notion that abhorrence might be a sustaining and even joy-inducing force. And while the objects in this exhibition don’t immediately radiate undying disgust, they do represent an intriguing—if low-key—variety of positive approaches to negative emotion. Retaining a black-painted wall from the previous show to ramp up his own project’s darkness, curator David Hunt installs work by six artists who orbit Hazlitt’s barbed suggestion.
The most successful works in the show contrast hatred with its customary opposite. Mike Quinn charts his torturous breakup with an old girlfriend, comparing it to the sporting rivalry between Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas while roping in a mess of materials including booze and pills to connote the toll such battles take. Dario Robleto commemorates another face-off between adversaries from a different sport, boxers Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali. Recreating Liston’s gloves, Robleto memorializes a fighter destined for total eclipse by a rival assured of lasting greatness. Other works, like Nicolas Lobo’s bust of “ultimate hater” Charlton Heston and Josh Faught’s assemblage of fabric scraps and self-help books, don’t bite as deeply.
"THE ACCELERATED GRIMACE"
Daniel Silverstein Gallery
By FRANKLIN SIRMANS
Inspired by Ezra Pound’s observation of modernism that "the age demanded an image of its accelerated grimace," curator and Silverstein director David Hunt has attempted in this exhibition to illustrate technology’s inundating speed of information exchange. There are works here by 18 youngish artists, arranged in a way that seems both appropriately compact and burgeoning, with an end result that is uneven.
Much of the art concentrates on mapping, in effect, systemic break downs and information overload. In this vein, the best works are drawings by Marsha Cottrell and Danielle Tegeder. Cottrell's densely packed network of lines runs and weaves from one edge of the paper to the other, suggesting a labyrinth of information. Tegeder's pictures seem abstract but are, in fact, mostly based on an inventory of architectural plans for fallout shelters. Her paintings are also on view at the New Museum's current show on the blurring of art and architecture, "Out of Site".
A more representational component of contemporary infoculture appears in realist works by Bill Walker and Richard Stipl. Walker offers ink drawings of Playboy models, serial killers and celebrities who look as if they can’t stand the media spotlight for another moment. Stipl has made a sculpture featuring multiple iterations of the same face, attached to metal rods jutting off the wall. In the manner of Nadar's famous facial studies, each expresses a range of emotions from consternation to mental anguish and, possibly, pain resulting from a solid punch to the face. Diana Shpungin and Nicole Engelmann also deal with psychological violence in a humorous video loop, which shows the two artists smacking each other repeatedly and forcefully. Another noteworthy piece is Rosemarie Fiore's photograph, Tempest, whose centrifugal explosion of light rays resembles a videogame screen.
The exhibition is accompanied by an essay by Hunt which, in lieu of the usual gallery statement, recounts a day in his life teeming with electronic equipment. It's a nice touch, but too many of the works here struggle to be as interesting when it comes to dealing with the themes of this exhibition.