Critics’ Picks

It's Over—Be More Gay, 2006, mixed media, 45 x 66 x 114".

It's Over—Be More Gay, 2006, mixed media, 45 x 66 x 114".

Philadelphia

Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch

Crane Arts - The Icebox Project Space
1400 N American Street
February 1–February 24, 2007

This chaotic exhibition brings together a group of sculptures that resemble a cast of jubilant characters: Vibrant and immediate, they seem suited for the effervescent set of a high school version of some experimental drama. Assembled from disparate materials, the sculptures are actually the result of a group effort, in which artists Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch joined forces with a number of energetic friends. The ten sculptures—some depicting individuals, others intricate props or dysfunctional families—recall the carnivalesque atmospheres of Trecartin’s videos, one of which, A Family Finds Entertainment, 2004, was prominently featured in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. Like a kaleidoscopic storyboard for a bizarre comedy show, Trecartin and Fitch’s sculptural vignettes read as hallucinatory or grotesque snapshots of everyday life. In The Traveling Blonde Monster, 2006, a woman with a globe in place of a head stands wearing jeans covered in plastic fruit. Nearby is Mr. Ashley, 2006, a colossally fat man checking himself out in a mirror. In It’s Over—Be More Gay, 2006, two gay dads dance around as their frightening child films them from a car seat. Recalling the work of artists such as John Bock and Paul McCarthy (with a touch of R. Crumb’s exaggerated perspective), the artists’ sculptures successfully infuse theatrical elements with an exuberant vitality, evoking Dionysian traditions and irreverent youth culture.