Domenick Ammirati

  • The Residents, “Land of 1000 Dances” (1975).
    picks April 11, 2003

    “Golden Oldies of Music Video”

    Though the title seems to promise a Top Forty countdown, this esoteric selection of music videos from MoMA’s collection emphasizes the genre’s links to other, presumably higher arts. Thus, included are clips for composers Philip Glass and Ryuichi Sakamoto and a roster of directors that comprises Rodney Graham and Tony Oursler. The show does a fine job documenting the form’s technological evolution, but only up to a point: “Golden Oldies,” you see, is a bit of a chestnut itself. Over the course of three screenings (on April 17, April 24, and May 1, each at 8 PM), it reprises the 1985 MoMA show

  • Baby Jane/ Helen and Annie Style, 2002.
    picks March 04, 2003

    Catherine Sullivan

    Half-surrounding the viewer with antic scenes staged in an empty house, Catherine Sullivan’s five-channel video installation Big Hunt, 2002, at first glance evokes a “sane patient/insane doctor” logic puzzle. Behind the madness, though, lies careful method. Sullivan selected performance scenarios—ranging from The Miracle Worker to the real-life story of Birdie Jo Hoaks, a woman who passed as a teenage boy—that suggest five different “economies” of acting style. Take the five sets of tasks executed within these scenarios, multiply by the five economies, and voilà: twenty-five silent, black-and-white

  • Accelerator (still from a DVD), 2003.
    picks February 04, 2003

    Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle

    The single remarkable thing here is a sound. Make your way around the exhibition’s showpiece, a huge, gleaming goiter that turns out to be a model of a thunderhead. Skirt the measly word painting; bypass the climatologically precise 3-D animation of another cloud mass inside a hangar. Follow your ears and guts to the gallery’s back corner, where small speakers emit a powerful basso pulse.

    Low enough to be almost haptic, increasing in tempo from ambling hum to rapid oscillation, the throb turns out to be the basic sound track of a four-minute video entitled Accelerator (2003). (A wrecked car lies

  • No Title (At least I'm..), 1983.
    picks January 24, 2003

    Raymond Pettibon

    In any given group of Raymond Pettibon’s drawings, one can find punk, pop, high abstraction; politics, Christianity, and sex; sports and movies and books from Henry James to Mickey Spillane; grotesque abuses of power and radiant transcendence; deadpan sarcasm and deadpan earnestness and every discursive point in between, all of it under the shadow of a skepticism unto the eschatological.

    Remember, though, that the apocalypse is a downer only for us sinners. Everybody else goes to heaven. Multiple meanings resting on the rock of a single fact: This semantic structure is one of the keys to Pettibon’s

  • Untitled, 2002.
    picks January 03, 2003

    Eric Wesley

    “Grow your own.” Redeployed by a black man, this hippie imperative sounds like the rhetoric of African-American self-empowerment. In a laconic yet expansive one-upping of the archetypal racist logic that says, Shit, you all were only ever good for picking our crops anyway, Eric Wesley is growing bootleg tobacco and selling it to the (white) world of contemporary art.

    We follow Wesley’s experiment in entrepreneurial agronomy with a stroll through a grow house, from incubating seedlings to lamp-bathed adult plants to browned leaves in a drying crib. A baggie of dried product lies on a workbench