“SEX. Now that I’ve got your attention . . . ” Like the sales pitch that begins with that jokey advertising ploy, this exhibition, titled “Intercourse, ” didn’t have much to do with sex. In her statement for the show, curator Eileen Sommerman writes that the word “intercourse” denotes “communication or dealings between or among people, countries, etc.; interchange of products, services, ideas, feelings, etc.” This is broad territory for such a modest show, and the three works don’t really seem to fit into this formulation. But Sommerman’s strengths as a curator have less to do with exposition than with her instinct for selecting great work and unusual spaces.

The show, installed in an unnamed truck warehouse off an alley, featured one work each by London- and Berlin-based artist A.K. Dolven, the Australian John Nixon, and Anne Schneider, who lives in Berlin. The piece opposite the huge portal was Dolven’s video I hold your head in my hands, 1999, on a monitor hanging about six feet up the fifteen-foot wall. A single sustained image shows a pair of hands cupping a white-blond head that appears to be upside down (the result of the image being inverted). The only motion in the video, which was shot with a still camera, is that caused by a light breeze touching the hair. This cryptic yet compelling gesture was extended as a loop: Lacking any narrative, the hand-held head appears to hang there indefinitely.

Schneider’s video projection Anne Schneider 1998 also depicts hands on a head, but instead of engaging in a poetic gesture, they enact a sequence of violent actions. Projected against the back wall of an alcove in the warehouse, the video follows Schneider as she struggles to turn a doll’s head inside out, tugging and stretching the stiff, unyielding plastic. After nearly seven minutes of frustration (which we can only sense; her face is outside the frame), she finally succeeds and sets the bizarre inside-out head on the floor, bald, its eyeballs bulging forward from their sockets.

In the center of the adjacent wall was Nixon’s Block Painting (Orange Monochrome), 1998, an orange felt–covered wood block about four inches square and one and a half inches deep. For the past five years, Nixon has worked only with the color orange—a conceptual gesture no less extraordinary than turning a head inside out or holding one upside down indefinitely. His work was the show’s punctum: a small, glowing, undeniably material object, the perfect counterpoint to the immateriality of video.

Read in relation to one another, the works began to tease out issues that might link them but stopped short of anything definitive. For my own part, I enjoyed pondering what they collectively suggest about time, will, materiality, the frame, the relationship of hand to head, etc. The paucity of works, sensitively installed, was bracing. Instead of overwhelming us with the usual group-show cacophony, Sommerman simply let us eavesdrop on an intriguing three-way conversation.

Lisa Gabrielle Mark