Joan Acocella

  • PEPÓN OSORIO'S PLASTIC HEAVEN

    WHEN YOU LOOK UP at Pepón Osorio’s El Chandelier (The chandelier, 1988), you can hardly believe your eyes. It’s a chandelier all right, but decorated with a thousand tiny knickknacks. There are toy cars and squirt guns, dominoes and swans, plastic saints, plastic lepers, plastic rhinos and giraffes and monkeys. The light bulbs are surrounded with little plastic palm trees and set in golden cups from which kewpie dolls peep out, some in turbans, some in straw hats. On every perch there hover little white doves, little brown ballerinas. From every arm of the chandelier plastic babies dangle,

  • Martha Clarke's Endangered Species

    MARTHA CLARKE'S most recent theater piece, Endangered Species, was supposedly about animals. As Clarke tells it, the piece took root when her Miracolo d’Amore, which included scenes of nudity and sexual cruelty, drew charges of obscenity at the 1988 Spoleto Festival. Wounded, Clarke took refuge by spending time with the Circus Flora, a small circus that was also performing at Spoleto. There she made friends with the eponymous Flora, a nine-year-old African elephant; there she learned about elephant poaching from one of the circus’ co-owners, Ivor David Balding.

    Out of this idea of innocent