chicago

“Problems with Reading/Rereading”

Rhona Hoffman Gallery

In this show, guest curators Jeanne Dunning and Hirsch Perlman presented work that balks, stutters, or is painfully shy; that is plugged, reversed, or on idle; work that gets stuck in the throat, caught in the filter; that flaps and makes a noise—rackety, rackety, rackety—and won’t go down. Rather than ably and dutifully “communicating,” i.e. presenting solutions to esthetic problems, this work problematizes the very idea of esthetic solutions, and gives the lie to the notion of linguistic or textual transparency. By resisting an easy read, the work transfers the reader’s attention to the material nature of the text; to the text as obstacle and obfuscator rather than as vehicle.

The exhibition occupied the two small front rooms of the gallery and was visible from the street through the floor-to-ceiling plate glass on the front of the building. Seen from outside, Ken Lum’s two upended couches,

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