new-york

Amy Sillman

Casey Kaplan

The center of Amy Sillman’s Hindu High School (all works 1996), which crowds the rest of the painting’s images to its sides, is a large orb of yellow—a pool of yellow to dive into, a yellow sun to bake under, or perhaps, given the title’s Hindu reference, some kind of tantric meditational cosmic something-or-other to locate one in spiritual space. Thinly lettered words fanning in from the four corners nourish that notion: “Birth,” “Death,” “Conception,” “Forgetting.” Having declared with this summary that her art will touch the bases of human and of creative life, Sillman smartly leavens ambition with whimsy. A whirlpool-like whorl at bottom right gets a pair of dots that make it into a kind of smiley or Spiderman face without a mouth; a balancing roundness at bottom left has a little curl on top—Tintin, or perhaps the doodles on a teenager’s homework. High school, after all, has to come

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