“Autobiographical Fantasies”

ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

The subject is ancient. St. Augustine, it is said, invented a literary container for it. More than 200 years have passed since Rousseau proclaimed, “Myself alone! . . . If I am not better, at least I am different.” The “self”—perennially fascinating to its owner, occasionally interesting to an “other,” conspicuous problem of the Romantics and frequent obsession of the Moderns—is recently being widely broadcast as an appropriate subject for mid-70s art. LAICA responds to the call with “Autobiographical Fantasies,” a spirited group exhibition, but one uncomfortably saddled with definitional complications. The show unites in uneasy collaboration the often intriguing, not always autobiographical, and most certainly disparate work of seven California-based artists: Eleanor Antin, Carole Caroomas, Jennifer Griffiths, Ilene Segalove, Allan Sekula, Alexis Smith and John White.

At first blush,

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