San Francisco

Michael Tracy


For “Santuarios,” his installation here, Michael Tracy made the exhibition space over as a chapel. He had the main gallery’s high walls painted dark gray and deployed along them, and on bases throughout the room, a large selection of the exquisitely traumatized ritual objects he’s been making during the last ten years. Thick, stumpy cruciform assemblages, crepuscular shrines and paintings, and iridescent bas-relief panels drew illumination from the skylight overhead, bristling in spectral heaps of semipermeable catastrophe, a chthonic mulch.

These lurid memento mori contrasted with the cool, clean lines of wooden grillwork partitions and furnishings—including a couple of large uninviting chairs and a confessional—all built to specifications for the show by Mexican craftsmen. Tracy dedicated the chapel to the recent war dead of Nicaragua and El Salvador and the Mexican mojados (wetbacks)

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