San Francisco

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 in his dealings with the boxing world (at least outside the ring). Thus, seeing this recent exhibition of prim, finely executed watercolors gave a jolt: it forces the viewer to consider afresh what his art is actually about.

The watercolors on view, which Labat collectively calls Broadway (all works

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