new-york

Susan Hiller

Pat Hearn Gallery / Nicole Klagsbrun

For her recent two-gallery exhibition, Susan Hiller showed a selection of paintings at Nicole Klagsbrun and a video installation entitled An Entertainment, 1990, at Pat Hearn. The paintings involved the dispersal of various pigments and inks over patterned grounds such as wallpaper; unfortunately they were estheticized to the point of blandness, leaving little to please or to offend the viewer. That, however, was not the case with An Entertainment.

Hiller’s four-channel installation montaged excerpts from a quintessentially English genre of children’s entertainment: Punch and Judy shows. She claimed that she wanted to demonstrate how these puppet shows function as conditioning tools, but wound up doing much more. Typically, snippets featuring, for example, one character beating another and screaming, “Wicked! Wicked! Wicked!” were repeated over and over via fast-paced edits. Slow-motion

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