Critics’ Picks

View of “Any Ever,” 2011. From left: Rhett LaRue and Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin, Mother, 2006; Brian McKelligott and Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin, Abraham with the Long Arm, 2006; Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin, Encore, 2007.

View of “Any Ever,” 2011. From left: Rhett LaRue and Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin, Mother, 2006; Brian McKelligott and Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin, Abraham with the Long Arm, 2006; Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin, Encore, 2007.

Paris

Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch

Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris
11 avenue du Président Wilson
October 18, 2011–January 8, 2012

Much ado has been made over the frenetic collaborations of Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin in the past year, largely due to their touring ADD bacchanal-slash-miniretrospective “Any Ever,” which debuted to much acclaim in Los Angeles at MoCA’s Pacific Design Center before traveling to MoMA PS1 in New York. Hailed by some as prophets of the YouTube generation, the duo certainly earn their mantle with this latest iteration. The labyrinthine exhibition includes over two years of their videos, from the brilliantly spazzy K-CoreaINC.K, 2009, to the rapturous girl dystopia The Re’Search (Re’Search Wait’S), 2009–11. Unfolding as a rhizomatic K-hole, each video is screened in a full installation environment, partial stages pieced together out of seemingly random wreckage from the mall, Home Depot, and IKEA. The overall impact is of a decomposed consumerist fantasy, but the French backdrop also serves to underscore the distinctly American flavor of this thematic, even as notions of national specificity dissolve into a buzzing Tower of Babel filled with emoji, digital effects, and bits of Twitter updates.

Those familiar with Trecartin and Fitch’s antics will find a refreshing counterpoint in the series of sculptures, including many earlier works making their debut here. Ostensibly these are extensions of the videos and sets, assembled from readymade objects, such as baby strollers, hair extensions, pillows, and liquid Styrofoam (to name a few). However, their impact is both more subtle and more anxiety-ridden, as in The Edge, Skinny, 2008, a sculpture of a single figure made from melty latex molds clutching a vacuum-sealed pillow. The effect is at once absurdist and oddly classical, bringing to mind the grace and existential dread of Alberto Giacometti’s solitary figures. It undoubtedly deepens the art-historical context of a practice that at times seems caught up in its own Day-Glo hysteria. Even if not quite parables of these latter days, these gestures certainly prove prescient and surprisingly nuanced.