new-york

Robbie McCauley, Indian Blood

The Kitchen

Like an orthodox neo-Brechtian performance artist, Robbie McCauley fed the stomach first in Indian Blood, 1987, her politically bent mixed-media work, by passing around casually introduced plates of fruit to the audience. But the ideological stew that followed was a half-baked dish, a smorgasbord of personal anecdotes and sociopolitical attitudes that didn't congeal. Instead of echt Brecht, McCauley gave us a well-intentioned, passionately felt, and personally meaningful exhibition that was too monotone, too diffuse, and finally too unresolved to be effective agitprop. Indian Blood desperately needed liberal dashes of the ironic humor and skillful “alienation effect” with which the German master laced his hearty dramas.

The setting was simple but forceful. In the Kitchen's cavernous, warehouse-like space, four large panels were set up, like an interior drive-in movie screen, on which images

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