Rosetta Brooks

  • George Herms

    George Herms is one of America’s major practitioners of assemblage art; his is an art that celebrates junk and that views salvaging it as a path to salvation. Rusty old objects are his favorite material. For his recent exhibition entitled “Project X (An Instant Elation),” he created a host of sculptural assemblages from the scraps of daily life and displayed them in the upper gallery, recreating his studio environment.

    One of the most distinctive features of his art is its totemic, incantatory nature. The works often invoke devotional spaces, displaying the detritus of urban life as an assembly

  • “Love in the Ruins”

    To most people, Los Angeles is a city of perpetual sunshine and eternal optimism. Historically, artists and the art business have stuck to the East Coast and West Coast art has always enjoyed a strangely tangential relationship to this “center” of the art world. Embracing a refreshing sense of the absurd that contrasts with the high-seriousness of the New York art world, and framed by a culture of unreality (the film business), art in California has often seemed like an antidote to the high-art ideals of the mainstream art world.

    Artists like Edward Ruscha, John Baldessari, Alexis Smith, Llyn

  • Sabina Ott

    There is a domestic wildness, a rhythm-as-layered-energy to Sabina Ott’s new paintings. Pigmented encaustic, poured and manipulated onto rich mahogany panels, evolves into forms that oscillate between uneven grids and tangled, intertwined lines, alternatingly suggesting roses and arteries.

    Roses have been the focus of Ott’s attention for the past several years. Of course, the rose is an ancient poetic symbol, an icon of male and female, beauty and pain, love and death. But Ott’s new series of paintings, “the sub rosa series,” 1993–94, does not evoke the roses in Dante, Robert Burns, or even

  • FROM THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE: TERRY ALLEN'S BADLANDS

    The American/Mexican border has been described as “una herida abierta [an open wound] where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds. And before a scab forms, it hemorrhages again, the lifeblood of two worlds merging to form a third country—a border culture.”1

    Borders are usually formed in the aftermath of war to differentiate safe places from dangerous ones, in a distinction of us from them. They are often unsettled and unsettling wastelands: spaces informed by the emotional residue of imposing unnatural boundaries. The towns that spring up around these zones, homes for the human

  • SOUL CITY: AN INTERVIEW WITH ALAN RUDOLPH

    ALAN RUDOLPH'S TERRAIN is the shadowland of the psyche, the place where our pathologies find a home—where our obsessions, paranoias, fears, and fetishes ferment and fertilize one another. On the surface, Rudolph's movies can look like simple melodramas, but the story lines are merely the skeletons on which the flesh of his movies hangs—supports for the primary drama, which is played out between the characters and within them. Whether the subject matter is urban disaffection, love and marriage, or an act of revenge, the main event is the inner turmoil through which his characters pass.

    On

  • Moira Dryer's Dream Catchers

    For Native American tribes of the Southwest, dreams are the guardians of the soul; a region where the pathologies of the spirit, rather than those of the body or of the world, are enacted.

    In the Southwest, particularly in places near Indian reservations, you can buy Indian artifacts from vendors on any street corner. One such object is called a dream-catcher. Made of wood and animal gut, the dream-catcher is shaped like a spider’s web and is to be hung above you when you sleep, or set at the door to your home. The Indians believe that when you dream at night (or just daydream, for that matter),

  • VIOLENCE AND THE SACRED: TERRY ALLEN

    As some spake of the temple, . . . he said, . . . the days will come, in which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

    Luke 21:5–6

    AS I WRITE, the walls of Jerusalem are being torn apart and its stones thrown down on worshipers. Palestinians and Jews are being martyred in their own holy temples. Saddam Hussein is posing as defender of the holy cities. Holy war is on everyone’s tongues.

    The vision of bullet-ridden columns and ancient stones in Jerusalem seems as shocking as the actual images of cobblestoned streets strewn with injured and dying human beings.

  • SOUL SEARCHING: LYN FOULKES

    THERE'S AN OLD TRIBAL belief that you can lose your soul. Unable to connect with either the outside world or the inner, you’re out of yourself. Your links to family, nature, and religion are gone. Nothing means anything anymore. There seems little sense in thinking, feeling, or even praying. Loss of soul is akin to loss of self, and without self you are no longer human. You are simply not there. Because you have no will, you don’t even have the desire to die—though I believe you can die from the utter abjection of being no longer part of the same equation with life.

    Llyn Foulkes’ Pop, 1985–90,

  • Ipsodefacto

    WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE does this age—the last decade of the second millennium—demand from us? How can we possibly express it? We have seen the Berlin Wall pulled down, the massacre of students in Tiananmen Square; been witnesses, via the television, to Soviet troops in Azerbaijan; read of purges in Romania, Bulgaria, and Mongolia; watched as a playwright, Vaclav Havel, assumed leadership in one country, while another leader, Nelson Mandela, was freed from imprisonment in another. Closer to home, we have been barraged with the extremities of physical pain, personal loss, and societal dislocation

  • REMEMBRANCE OF OBJECTS PAST

    A PAPER ROLL, TAKEN FROM the kind of player piano that was popular in the years around the turn of the century unfurls from the platen of a vintage manual typewriter and hangs up the wall. The letters on the typewriter keys have been replaced with musical notations—crotchets, quavers. The title of this 1985 assemblage by Annette Lemieux is Oh Promise Me, the name of an old religious love ballad whose melody has been coded into holes punched into the piano roll. Alongside them are printed the words of the song. Reading this lyric, the viewer follows the text up the wall, and falls into an attitude

  • FROM THE NIGHT OF CONSUMERISM TO THE DAWN OF SIMULATION

    NIGHT THE CRITIC

    FREDDIE FRANCIS’ MOVIE Doctor Terror’s House of Horrors (1965) consists of a series of vignettes which describe the lives of characters whose fate (because of their evil deeds) is to share the same railway carriage on a journey to the “other world” of the popular imagination. Richard Prince’s short story entitled "Horror Picture’’ (1980) tells the story of one of the characters from the film, William Night, an art critic. Night, played in the movie by Christopher Lee, is a popular caricature of an art critic; he is vindictive, self-important, arrogant, blinkered and arbitrary in

  • GILBERT & GEORGE: SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL

    THE EXHIBITION “GILBERT & GEORGE,” organized by Brenda Richardson and shown this spring at the Baltimore Museum of Art, gives us an opportunity to look sideways at a body of work that has, over the past fifteen years, been presented frontally, both in content and in scale. From the perspective of the implosive ’80s we can view work that has assaulted and confronted us for over a decade. From their picturesque styled images of communion with the second nature of the English countryside, through the swirls of darkness in the ellipse of intoxication, and into the cold, clear “day after” of the “