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OPENINGS: ALEX HUBBARD

Alex Hubbard, Heads in the Dark, 2009, still from a color video, 19 minutes 10 seconds.

A PHONE RINGS, and a tart yellow computer-generated square quivers in response. This peculiar interchange is over just as soon as it starts: Cut to a tabletop seen from above, where a plastic cloth is unfurled; a vase is set down, filled with water and a rosy bodega bouquet; said flowers are decapitated, buds tumbling onto the slab in a series of dully emphatic thumps; the vase is shattered; the whole tableau—scattered flower bits and thick beads of water—is spray-painted black; a hooked cane snares and drags away the refuse; and the tablecloth is pulled off, leaving behind the cane, alone, before the screen goes dark. All of this happens quickly and without commentary, although voices (“Ready?” “Just from the top like this?”) and Foley sound effects are audible throughout. Then there is the artist, Alex Hubbard, himself—or at least his incantations and his limbs,

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