Buzz Spector

  • George Stone

    George Stone’s latest kinetic installation, Men and Women, 1991, consists of twin metal mechanisms, mounted from floor to ceiling in the middle of an otherwise empty gallery, each holding a video monitor that moves up, down, and around the structure of shiny metal poles. The videotapes show slow camera pans that move along and around the nude figures of a man or a woman, gradually revealing every inch of the subjects’ flesh. It becomes quickly apparent that the motions of the monitors in the gallery mimic exactly the movements in space of the cameras that tracked the now-absent figures.


  • Roy Dowell

    In their compositional dynamics, Roy Dowell’s paintings and collages recall the work of the Futurists, yet the pieces in this sprawling exhibit transcend pastiche, utilizing a retinue of Modernist pictorial devices to create an art with a sensibility all its own.

    Dowell’s work has long been distinguished by its idiosyncratic incorporation of abstracted figurative details within complicated patternings of color and line. But where his earlier paintings tended to be cautious, both in terms of scale and palette, here one finds an expansive and sophisticated melding of fragments from found magazines,

  • Ellen Birrell

    T(h)ree Rings, 1991, Ellen Birrell’s installation, consisted of a three-part sequence of situations in which a variety of materials, photographs, and texts were punningly manipulated to address issues of naming, stereotyping, and marginalization. Birrell constructed her own small exhibition space in one of the museum galleries, finishing this room over the course of the show. The floor and walls of the surrounding gallery were also used for display, and the resulting dichotomy between the site’s interior and exterior aspects reiterated the reflection on classification systems at the work’s core.

  • Judy Fiskin

    Poring over Judy Fiskin’s tiny images is a little like searching the grounds in the bottom of a cup of Turkish coffee for a last sip of sweetness; her dense photographs represent a world reduced to a concentrated visual sediment. This exhibition of 15 framed gelatin silver prints entitled “Some Art,” (all works 1990) offers up a wildly diverse array of art objects, including a painted crouching tiger, a 19th-century engraving of tobacco jars, several assortments of glass ornaments, and a vignette from The Iliad, found on a Wedgwood plate.

    When shrunk to 2¾ square inches and mounted in identical

  • “PULSE 2”

    Things whirr, click, glow, and tremble in this sprawling, multiple-site exhibition. “PULSE 2”(the name is an acronym for people using light, sound, and energy) features more than 80 works by 60 artists concerned with the interrelatedness of art and physical phenomena. The more mechanical aspects of this practice were once called “kinetic art,” and a number of important figures in the history of kineticism are represented here, along with contemporary artists working with a variety of new technologies, including computers, fiber optics, and audio and video electronics. There are even a few works

  • Joel Otterson

    The collision of material and stylistic referents animates Joel Otterson’s sculptures. The eight 1989 works shown here are quite absurd variations on common domestic objects, done in the artist’s best industrial baroque manner In their exuberant oddness, they demonstrate their maker’s jovial disdain for anything like an unforced unity, either of substance or style. Otterson likes to oppose the social and historical meaning of a pattern or decorative effect to the material on which it appears. He also sets up oppositions of form and function through such constructive maneuvers as nestling small

  • Laura Stein

    The substances of sorcery and of the body are commingled in Laura Stein’s paintings and arrangements of objects. Grainy black and white photographs of bodily products such as blood cells or facial skin, as well as images of various seeds and powders used in the casting of spells, are applied to blocks of wax and to oil-on-canvas paintings.The resulting works are spellbinding in a curiously literal way. Self Portrait (Blood Cells), 1989, consists of five wall-mounted rectangles of white wax in different sizes. Silk-screened enlargements of blood cells appear on the roughened sides of these blocks:


    I propose a feast for the eyes, sumptuous, multiplicitous, and occasionally disgusting.

    THIS IS A BANQUET of works of art that include milk, rice, bread, vegetables, piles of fat, carpets of pollen, sheets of wax or chocolate, shit, urine, blood, and assorted rots. Not all dishes lend themselves to this table; only those servings that are both excessive and incessantly replenished, for this profusion of substance asserts the commodiousness of contemporary appetites, both for pleasure and transgression.

    A veritable buffet of organic substances has been appropriated into visual art practice of the

  • Karen Carson

    “Spiritual Vanities” is the name Karen Carson chose for this exhibit of paintings and smaller watercolors, but her titles, mostly derived from Disney songs, seem closer in spirit to the rhapsodic chromatic and spatial manipulations of these works. Carson’s exuberantly orchestrated acrylic-on-panel constructions are studded with pieces of Plexiglas mirror, usually arranged in concentric ripples, like shards from a shattered reflection. These are contraposed with radiations of paint that charge the works’ surfaces with explosive energy, but also, problematically, suggest a cause-and-effect reading

  • John Baldessari's Tristram Shandy

    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, by Laurence Sterne. Reissue of the 18th-century novel in a limited edition of 400, illustrated by John Baldessari. San Francisco: Arion Press, 1988, 3 vols., 620 pages, 39 double-page photocollages.

    DISCOMBOBULATED FROM THE MOMENT of his conception, Tristram Shandy, the unfortunate hero of Laurence Sterne’s 18th-century epic, assays his “Life and Opinions” through a multiplicitous discourse that collapses the conventional discretions of past and present, fiction and real life, and experience and memory. Through its narrator’s constant interruptions,

  • Brian Eno

    The latest of Brian Eno’s light-and-sound installations immerses viewers in an environment of radiant images and ambient sound. “Latest Flames,” 1988, is a series of seven more or less discrete video sculptures—arrangements of television monitors set within structures of translucent foamcore and programed to generate constantly shifting color spectra—and an accompanying envelope of soft, melodic synthesizer tones. Five pieces are sited along the side and rear walls of a large square gallery; two others are set within smaller adjoining alcoves. The installation is lit only by the glow from the

  • Christina Ramberg

    Christina Ramberg has been abstracting and re-presenting various portions of the human (usually female) body for 20 years. Her figures are often wrapped, draped, or bound; they are incomplete and unidentifiable, as well as half-dressed, provoking readings at once comical, sinister, and erotic. This retrospective follows Ramberg’s work from its pop-vernacular, cartoonish beginnings with the Chicago Imagists in the late ’60s, through larger works of the ’70s in which the body of the subject is represented by arrangements of semiabstract cloth draperies or furniture, and culminates with a group of