Los Angeles

Manuel Neri and Joan Brown

David Stuart Galleries

Neri’s powerful, life­size plaster of Paris desdichados seem to grow (or decay) out of the post-­atomic phase of the iconography of despair. This is their content and context, but their virtue is not in what they say about the condition of hu­manity, for this view gets frequent ex­posure at all levels from kitsch to kul­tur, but in spite of it. One therefore grudgingly admits that these are form­ally impressive works with a fine sculp­tural and dramatic presence. The use of plaster is a frighteningly effective medium for this morbid vision and strikes the proper chill note, but it is also a satisfying material for the plan­al angularity and sculptural solidity of Neri’s approach to the figures. The dis­tortions do work in a fairly interesting sculptural manner, even if they bore in their literal message of hump-backed, swell-jointed, limbless deformity. Neri has a fine sense of the way

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. Please sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW and save up to 65% off the newsstand price for full online access to this issue and our archive.

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.