Carolee Schneemann

Max Hutchinson Gallery

The air of frustration about Carolee Schneemann’s recent mixed media objects has to do with their subject matter—the war in Lebanon—but it expresses itself, in a kind of reflexive subtext, as a loss of esthetic faith. Instead of Robert Rauschenberg’s famous “gap” figure of speech, Schneemann would probably see art and life as weaving onward in mutual self-realization, woof and warp; yet this work seems to balk, to be as much about intermittent, relentless, disruptive return, as about flowing on. There’s a hitch.

Take War Mop, 1983, an image/machine of vaudevillian inevitability. Slowly one end of a motorized mop rises above a video monitor. Inch by inch it ascends, until, gravity sodden, it suddenly plops down on the set. With scenes of Lebanese devastation on the screen and small debris in front of it, this rigging is the kinetic equivalent of counting to ten and still losing your temper.

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