Critics’ Picks

Jim Lambie, Danceteria X, 2007, broken mirror, handbag, glue, 59 x 33 x 18”.

Jim Lambie, Danceteria X, 2007, broken mirror, handbag, glue, 59 x 33 x 18”.


Jim Lambie

The Goss-Michael Foundation
1305 Wycliff Avenue Suite 120
April 7–September 3, 2011

Jim Lambie’s work explores the way that processes such as projective fantasy and glamour, as well as totemism are particularly important between popular music and its fans. In this exhibition, a sense of theatricality is established by the extravagant, discolike Zobop Fluoro, 2004, where fluorescent vinyl tape covers the floor in alternating stripes, outlining shapes defined by the perimeter of the gallery that shrink toward the center of the space. Another prime element of glamour in Lambie’s work is the decorated, cutout head shot of a pop idol; in Careless Whisper, 2009, the face of George Michael, patron saint of bubblegum pop, is almost completely surrounded by a lush floral arrangement. No less important for the sense of absorptive fantasy are the reflective glass and mirrors that cover several of the works on view.

A more primal dimension of experience is represented in Lambie’s use of fetishistic or totem objects, notably Psychedelic Soulstick #71, 2008, which leans unobtrusively against the wall of a second, smaller side gallery off the main room. This sculpture, a three-foot length of bamboo wound around with multiple colors of wire and cotton thread—into which are woven cigarette packets, a brooch, and necklace beads—has animistic connotations invoking both the ethnographic museum and the neohippie jam festival. Lambie uses the principle of accumulative repetition to suggest the uncanny potential in ordinary objects, as in the collaged eyes staring out from Untitled, 2008, or the doorknobs that encrust Get Yr Freak On, 2008, like barnacles.

Imaginative fantasy and the totemistic object converge in the gleaming handbags in Danceteria X, 2007, and Untitled, 2008, which dangle tantalizingly from wall-mounted furniture assemblages, ready to be deployed for the rite of going out.