Critics’ Picks

Still from ( ), 2003.

Still from ( ), 2003.

New York

Morgan Fisher

Greene Naftali Gallery
508 West 26th Street Ground Floor
November 17, 2004–January 8, 2005

Morgan Fisher presents an odd homage to Hollywood deeply imbued with the tradition (of which he is part) of West Coast avant-garde filmmaking. Nine mirrors line the walls of Greene Naftali’s main room: Allegorizing Hollywood history, they are to-scale exemplars of various film formats, which have grown steadily bigger since the early twentieth century. Their titles, neatly encapsulating the expansion (from SILENT 1.33:1 to ULTRA PANAVISION 2.40:1), are etched in the bottom left-hand corners. Resembling both the sample mirrors displayed in design showrooms and monochromatic paintings, the works pose an uncanny challenge, forcing you to look at your own reflection: There’s no getting away from yourself (as Fisher observes in his accompanying essay). Also on view is ( ), 2003, a compilation of the filler shots, or inserts, that punctuate “the movies.” With no apparent continuity, a dog barks, hands play with knives or joysticks, a roulette wheel spins. The concept is a smart one, but as with the mirrors, perhaps too easy an illustration of theses Fisher has already put on paper. He has succeeded in liberating inserts from their narrative duties, with mesmerizing results; one wishes he could as effectively liberate himself from the need to locate his work so squarely within a theoretical construct.