Critics’ Picks

Terry Fox, Resurrectine, 2007, glass bottle, 9 x 3 7/8”.

Terry Fox, Resurrectine, 2007, glass bottle, 9 x 3 7/8”.

New York


Ronald Feldman Gallery
31 Mercer Street
May 15–June 26, 2010

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of Creative Capital, board member Ronald Feldman and the organization’s director of artist programs, Sean Elwood, have put together an exhibition that addresses transformation, reenactment, and rebirth. Several politically inflected pieces restage historic moments, such as video documentation of Mark Tribe’s Port Huron Project: The Whole World Is Watching, 2010, wherein actors deliver protest speeches including Angela Davis’s 1969 “Liberation of Our People.” Tribe’s focus on Davis complements The Capture of Angela, 2008, Carrie Mae Weems’s photograph marking the activist’s 1970 arrest in New York. In another reenactment, Eleanor Antin reimagines Florence Nightingale’s early nursing experiences, photographing figures in period costumes and then staining the images.

While other groupings, such as those that depict decaying landscapes or taxidermy animals, produce startling visual relationships, the dizzying inclusion of so many pieces overshadows the show’s strongest works. Videos such as Eve Sussman’s Sound Design for Future Films-Redux, 2010, for which she worked with a team to desynchronize sound from image, or Guy Ben-Ner’s playful reenactment of Moby-Dick with his young daughter filmed as a home video, merit sustained viewing. Similarly, older pieces such as Andy Warhol’s inverted print Reversal Marilyn, 1978, and Chris Burden’s self-inflicted near electrocution and its photographic corollary in Doorway to Heaven, 1974, deserve careful attention. Beyond the profusion of brightly colored pieces, the show contains elegant contributions such as Terry Fox’s Resurrectine, 2007, a glass bottle suggestive of the life-restoring elixir invented by Raymond Roussel in his 1914 novel Locus Solus, which sits quietly on a small shelf, overlooking the exhibition.