new-york

Alexis Rockman

Jay Gorney Modern Art

Alexis Rockman’s new series of paintings, collectively titled “Biosphere,” 1992–93, is inspired by one of the artist’s favorite movies, Silent Running, 1971. I’ve seen this film several times, although many of its details (no doubt indelibly etched on Rockman’s mind) remain vague to me—this movie tends to be a late-late-night treat. As I recall, it involves greenhouses in space that preserve the flora and fauna of Earth. When for some reason the mission must be aborted, chief gardener Bruce Dern—psycho character-actor par excellence—murders his fellow crew members rather than sacrifice his precious biospheres. He then continues to tend garden with three midget robots (actually manned in the film by limbless amputees). The rest of the movie chronicles his descent into full-fledged—what? It’s clear from the start that he’s nuts. Maybe being severely bummed out is the frosting on the cake of

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