new-york

Terry Allen

Barbara Gladstone Gallery

For nearly 15 years Terry Allen has produced a smorgasbord of artworks: drawings, sculpture, plays, prints, books, videotapes, and music. So this exhibition of quirky constructions came as no surprise. What was new for Allen was the subject matter: the lingering influence of Vietnam. Reportedly inspired by a friend’s tales and postwar experiences—the show was titled “Youth in Asia”—Allen tackled the difficult topic with his usual head-on Texas brio, necessarily laced with generous dollops of deep-seated bitterness. His objects convey the emotional intensity of classic Viet-vet anger, despair, cynicism, and, perhaps inevitably, confusion. Allen grew up in the Vietnam period, but has no first-hand experience of Vietnam; his ability to empathize is strong, but it leads him into some esthetic and moral dead ends. Undeterred by the unresolved (and unresolvable) issues left by the war, and by

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