PRINT May 1991


CROSS HELTER SKELTER with Mother Goose and you get a sense of the nuanced disorientation that characterizes Karen Kilimnik’s art. Though at first glance her loose spills of eclectic ephemera seem culled from the bedroom sanctuary of an overwrought teenage girl, signs abound that her preteen never-never land is under siege. Patient pastels of regal stallions (remember girls and their glass horses?), stuffed toys, idealized “pretty ladies,” doilies, glitter, toilet-paper streamers, and a generally perplexing mélange of things diaphanous and pink fuel the atmosphere of daydreamy solipsism. Yet Kilimnik’s lexicon also admits a scarcely assimilable roster of demicelebrities and vaguely glamorous locales that suggests a restless relationship to the outside world. Indeed, Kilimnik’s self-preserving filters must be dangerously overtaxed; her efforts to order her world—to synthesize the barrage of

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