Kim Abeles

ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Mounted as a kind of mid-career retrospective, this exhibition surveyed the prolific Kim Abeles’ work from 1979 to the present. She tends to work in series, 12 of which were represented in this show of more than 80 works. Combining elements of assemblage, Dada, and the diction of instructional materials, Abeles creates shrines that are often armed with an insistent social message. Beautifully conceived, designed, and produced, the catalogue that accompanied the show successfully advanced Abeles’ primary goals: to captivate and educate. Presented as a faux–World Book encyclopedia volume, it comes complete with a profusion of cunning little illustrations, and World Book’s signature red leathery cover. The encyclopedia conceit is the perfect vessel for Abeles’ tone, which mixes lightheartedness, dead seriousness, and idealism with an earnestness that is rare in the ’90s.

Her feeling for

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the January 1994 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.