“Antidotes to Madness?”

Riverside Gallery

When John Cleese kicked and hit his own car in the BBC series Fawlty Towers and ripped a public telephone off the wall in Clockwork, we laughed while secretly admiring his courage. Machines designed to extend our sensoriums have a stubborn streak of their own. The trouble is, they are here to stay, and we have no choice but to learn to live with them. Ree Morton, whose drawings (six of which were included here) suggested the title and the poetic underpinnings for the selection of installations in “Antidotes to Madness?,” regarded art as white magic. Can it help us control our living spaces?

Installed in the gallery’s foyer, Hannah Collins’ When Words Fail Completely, 1986, includes a huge photograph of an empty living space, designed to be intersected by a pillar of the building itself. The only inviting domestic element in the photograph is a double bed, but it is isolated in the middle

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