new-york

Rona Pondick

Jose Freire Fine Arts

Reading the massive pile of critical literature on Rona Pondick is like crawling naked through psychoanalytic razor wire. All the vague allusions to oral and anal fixations, the specious bandying about of terms like “repression,” “compulsion,” and “fetish,” the detection of penises, vaginas, and breasts in every artwork—it’s painful to read, not because of the uncomfortable psychic truths it turns up, but because it’s so full of bad causal reasoning and outmoded shrink jargon. Not that Pondick doesn’t ask for it; any artist who uses beds, baby bottles, and shoes as her signature materials is obviously tempting her viewers to play Freud.

On the surface, the principal works in Pondick’s brilliant show certainly did appear to invite psychoanalytic readings. Grouped on the floor in one corner of the gallery, Milk/Milk, 1993, consisted of 17 roughly basketball-sized objects covered with Baggy

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