Dave Hickey


In an art world full of “strong artists” getting fat at the trough of weakness and abjection, KAREN CARSON is the healthy exception: a drama queen who kicks butt. Think Bonnie Raitt meets Dorothy Parker, Fabergé graffiti, Dostoyevsky writes Jane Austen—that general area. A witty, worldly feminist with her heart on her sleeve and the world in her eye, Carson operates with the anxiety meter posting in the red. From the wry, striptease minimalism of her early zipper pieces, through the gaudy smoke-and-mirrors of her abstract “hot flashes,” to the flashy graphics of her recent Vegas koans, Carson’s work has always had that rock ’n’ roll thing—a passion for elegant noise and transient sentiment that makes fashion out of a contempt for it. La Carson’s great subject is the glamorous sensuality of everyday desperation, the visual spectacle of the dissolving self. Her three-venue

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