New York

Peggy Ahwesh

Whitney Museum of American Art

An irreverent mix of work by artists ranging from Pier Paolo Pasolini to the Electric Prunes, Peggy Ahwesh’s series “Girls Beware” was a retrospective of sorts, but one in which she juxtaposed her own work with film, video, and audio pieces that have inspired her over the years. This approach was particularly appropriate, since Ahwesh’s multilayered films and videos deploy a variety of materials, genres, narrative modes, and appropriative strategies. She often favors fugitive genres: for example, her “microcultural studies of friends and family”—such as Martina’s Playhouse (1989), The Pittsburgh Trilogy (1983), or From Romance to Ritual (1985)—are sophisticated home movies. She pays tribute to a kindred spirit, the filmmaker and cultural vagabond Raul Ruiz, with her “mental travelogue” The Fragments Project (1984–94), juxtaposing it with his labyrinthine satire On Top of the Whale (1982).

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