Critics’ Picks

“Assume Vivid Astro Focus”. Installation view.

“Assume Vivid Astro Focus”. Installation view.

New York

Assume Vivid Astro Focus

Deitch Projects
18 Wooster Street
June 26–August 15, 2003

Assume Vivid Astro Focus’s update of Kurt Schwitters's Total Art invades Deitch Projects with a busy agglomeration of media on media. Covering the interior walls and bleeding onto the floors are murals that incorporate images from tapestry designs, softcore porn, coloring books, and Tibetan thangka paintings, along with visual quotations of pop-culture chestnuts from Star Wars to Pink Floyd. In the back room, the artist (aka Eli Sudbrack) has installed Walking on Thin Ice, 2001, a video projection made in collaboration with the Brooklyn-based Honeygun Labs. Taking its title from the 1981 Yoko Ono tune, it's a jittery, jump-cutting MTV-style montage of half-naked women decked out in glitter and whorish makeup. The gallery’s facade has been given a makeover with bright, carnival-style signage, and the small storefront subgallery will function as a tattoo parlor for the duration of the show. With its thicket of youth-culture signification, its air of sexual provocation, and its ethic of promiscuous sampling, the show is a variation on the ubiquitous stuff of global media culture, a seething pastiche of a pastiche.