Critics’ Picks

Marie Jager, Special to me (Phoenix audition song), 2003. Installation view.

Marie Jager, Special to me (Phoenix audition song), 2003. Installation view.

Los Angeles

“3 Fireplaces and 2 Bathtubs”

MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Schindler House
835 North Kings Road
February 6–March 17, 2004

Bless this mess: Disheveled crash-pad chic is the backdrop for this group show at the Schindler House, summoning the ghost of Pauline Schindler, who “domesticated” the modernist masterpiece, circa 1940, much to architect Rudolph’s horror. The untidy program features MAK Center artists in residence Catrin Bolt, Oliver Croy, Robert Gfader, Marlene Haring, and Deborah Ligorio; acting as curators, they share the task of redomesticating the space with a cross section of young LA artists. In Skylar Haskard’s three-channel video Rural Plastic, 2003, construction debris, garish green paint, and the artist (wielding a clarinet) emerge from a large tube into a claustrophobic set penetrated by stakes. More housebroken, and perfectly sited on the kitchen counter, Ligorio’s SizeScape, 2003, plays like a three-minute infomercial from the unsettling near future of Todd Haynes’s Safe: Its fluid-motion graphics and gentle, Xanax-induced narration conjure a tranquilized utopia of air purifiers, Joe Colombo furniture, and alternative energy solutions. In the nursery, Marie Jager’s installation Special to me (Phoenix audition song), 2003, establishes precarious relationships between a sensitive maidenhair fern, a plant light, and a speaker emitting the eponymous Paul Williams ditty at 1/10 speed. Not quite ecosystem, not quite Deleuzian becoming, it’s a tender, goofy monument to the experimental domestic agenda of the Schindler House and its optimistic architect.