Critics’ Picks


Danny McDonald

Isabella Bortolozzi Galerie
Schöneberger Ufer 61
April 28–June 23, 2018

Danny McDonald’s latest exhibition appears to be informed by the program In Search of… by Leonard Nimoy. It is an extension of the artist’s established oeuvre, which consists of pop culture splattered over various ready-mades altered or detourned to make absurdist commentaries on the toxic American landscape, all while laughing at it, like a late-night comedy skit. Here, toys based on male cinematic icons largely associated with the baby boom are recontextualized to equal parts banal and horrifying effect.

An amputated hand swears an oath on a bible, guillotined by a paper cutter as a naked Pinocchio looks on in Searching For The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Whole Truth (The Stolen Book) (all works 2018). Searching for a Place to Dump Files echoes Nixon-era paranoia if not more recent investigations: Uncle Sam’s head is transplanted onto a leashed Gollum controlled by a Mordor knight, both nestled atop filing cabinets that recall Watergate. In Searching For A Reason To Have A Parade, a bratty, orange-haired Chucky from Child’s Play throws a tantrum on top of his golf cart, and it becomes quite clear to whom the show’s titles and works are referring. Many sculptures bring to mind a recent interview in which singer Azealia Banks said that Trump reminded her of a real-life cartoon—a grown-up Eric Cartman (from South Park). Searching For The Truth Behind Popular Beliefs comprises a large alien leading a paparazzi photo op with, among others, a unicorn and a naked Santa. In these zealous concoctions, truth and conspiracy duke it out as institutions are ripped up and remolded, much like the male figures on display. To quote The X-Files: The truth is out there. And in McDonald’s works, the truth is really out-there.