New York

Luigi Ontani and Joan Jonas

Whitney Museum of American Art

Both Luigi Ontani and Joan Jonas rummage in folklore, fairy tales, and finally world culture as if shopping in a flea market of the collective unconscious, looking for items to combine with autobiography to create contemporary mythical personae. Both use mixed media, costumes and masks, and environmental constructions to present this old wine in new skins, imagistic formal containers which are intended to re-ferment their elemental psychological contents. And both recently presented performances that showed some of the problems this promising idea seems to be stumbling over.

Ontani’s neo-myths appear in tableau vivant form. In this gallery space he filled a room with artwork: a wall display of Balinese masks; tondo paintings which look like personalized serving trays, each featuring an Ontani figure as a central motif; and a large quasi replica of the classical statue, The Discus Thrower,

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