Michael Tracy

A Bon Chat/Bon Rat Gallery

MICHAEL TRACY’s work is a combination of performance and powerful personal expression. One of his themes is martyrdom, by means of flaying, piercing or decay. Some of his paintings have heavy bronze spikes hammered through them, giving the surface a half-destroyed effect. There are also organic references: Tracy called a flap hanging in the center of one work a heart, and the canvas itself a skin.

The show of the last ten years of his work divided into two parts. The downstairs was primarily dark, heavy painting and a stagelike setting devoted to the elaborate Sugar Sacrifice executed in Galveston in 1974. The Sacrifice was a performance inside a sugar warehouse before a monumental pyramid of sugar; Tracy, with assistants, pierced one of his paintings with bronze spikes, raised it on a fork lift and celebrated with an orgy. The event was documented in the recent show by huge photographs.

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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