Nov 2, 2006

"Balls-out beauty" [LINK]

From a review, by the Village Voice's R.C. Baker, of Robert Colescott's offerings at New York's Kravets Wehby Gallery:

Seven feet high, The Sphinx Speaks (1993) portrays men, women, and a skeleton in jagged magenta-and-black stripes. A small, naked white male whispers devilishly into the ear of black minstrel-like man who has huge white eyes, thick pink lips wrapped around a cigar, and is wearing a red-and-blue-striped tie that counterpoints a rainbow in the opposite quadrant of the canvas. Second Thoughts on Eternity (1991) includes a golden Anubis (Colescott once studied and taught in Egypt); a smiling, bearded white Godhead; a frowning, white-bearded black man; and, prominently, a chick with a dick. These complex paintings offer enigmatic tales to be unraveled and righteous polemics to be considered, while transcending their outrageousness with balls-out beauty.
More information on another gallery offering at LMAK Projects, featuring the artist Liselot van der Heijden:
This artist from the Netherlands is as outraged by the Bush administration as many Americans. You enter the gallery by pushing aside a glowing scrim on which a snake winding and unwinding inside a white box is projected; a second video features two white mice skittering around an apple. A real-time feed from a tiny surveillance camera creates a third projection, adding the viewer's image to these symbols of sin and curruption. A nearby TV plays a loop of the president's State of the Union speeches, edited so the word evil is proclaimed over and over again and closing with "God is near." Even more frightening than the commander in chief's biblical absolutism is the thunderous applause it evokes.
Also, Joel-Peter Witkin is showing at the Keith de Lellis Gallery:
Witkin's photographic grotesqueries channel the classical past: A beautiful woman with amputated arms becomes a modern Venus de Milo, accessorized with bra and pet dog; Queer Saint (1999) imagines an arrow-pierced human skeleton topped by an animal skull, the only flesh a large, drooping penis. With their distressed, stained backgrounds, these black-and-white prints feel like daguerreotype curiosities, and Witkin's staging of nudes (some with grievous wounds) amid flowing fabrics and vaguely exotic trappings recalls the DIY tableaux vivants of East Village theater genius Jack Smith.
What is left unstated is that Witkin customarily uses corpses as his subjects.
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