• “Present Tense”

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

    If “Present Tense: Nine Artists in the Nineties” is any indication, the present is not so much tense as profoundly melancholy. Apparently awaiting the moment when the dilatory millennium will press our collective restart button, the artists in this zeitgeisty exhibition seem to have plenty of time on their hands. The consolation is that they use it well.

    A labor-intensive preoccupation with fabrication was the central feature of the primarily sculptural and installation-oriented art on view. The pièce de résistance in this make-work vein was Jim Hodges’ No Betweens, 1996, a 30-foot diaphanous

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  • Tony Labat

    Anglim Gilbert Gallery

    Tony Labat’s work has taken many different forms over the years—mixed-media installations, video, painting, and sculpture. Invariably it has a performance component, one that stems from the conceptual lineage of Chris Burden, Vito Acconci, and Bruce Nauman, whose work in the ’70s questioned the institutional limits of art through radical experimentation. My favorite example of Labat’s ability to intertwine analytic and experiential modes within a highly personal thematic is a year—long project from 1981 in which he trained to become a boxer and fought a professional bout, dressing in drag

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