reviews

  • Jim Nutt

    Phyllis Kind Gallery

    I never was a little boy who got particular delight out of dangling wormy creatures above mommy’s head, so the mischief of doing “bad” images and displaying them in stodgy places where only “proper” things should be shown—i.e. art galleries—fails to give me vicarious fascination. Nor am I real amazed at stuff that wants to jolt me from my middle-class values, make me blush in front of my friends, or generally show me that everything in a world I thought was virtuous either stinks or is subject to human ridicule.

    Jim Nutt’s fiendish images drawn on paper don’t really look so fiendish, and, no,

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  • Joan Brown

    Allan Frumkin Gallery

    Joan Brown’s large-scale, cartoonish painting has moved from her prior hokey camp and jokey funk to a kind of no-nonsense social imagery, painful but bearable. Her format is controlled, her figures frontal, and her paint asensual. In a new group of six self-portraits, primarily concerned with de-idealizing women, I marvel at the areas in which life and art can come together. For example: Woman Waiting in Restaurant—the black and white tile floor, a device immortalized by Vermeer to situate a contented woman in a warm window light, now leads along a roguish red carpet to billboardish rows of

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  • Bruce Conner

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)

    Bruce Conner’s drawings, like his assemblages and films, deal with the concept of transmutation of form, both optical and metaphysical. But, whereas the assemblages and films have specific origins in the world, the drawings have no scale reference, and, in many cases, a cool, nonhierarchic pattern diminishes the importance even of specific detail. Thus, the rhythmic, densely organic, scribbles, dots, and hatches might refer to molecules or galaxies, interiors or exteriors, dissolving geometry. They include rows of mandalas, cocoonish fetuses, illustrations for Dante’s Inferno, landscaped

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