Gretchen Faust


This was Gretchen Faust’s first exhibition anywhere since 1994, and, depending on your point of view, it could represent either the artist’s decline into terminal irrelevance or her accession to a new level of maturity and concentration. Faust actually began exhibiting in the early ’80s, but her work seemed to take off around 1989, when she became one of the first young artists in New York to successfully reinvestigate the aesthetics of the early ’70s, gaining attention for a series of severe yet elegantly formal works somewhere between sculpture and performance—among the best known being the “Wall Tattoos,” 1987–, which consist of enigmatic texts inscribed with the point of an ice pick: messages at once violent and elusive. Such works elicited as much reproof as enthusiasm, however: “All about fetishism . . . narcissistically insulated and elitist” was one verdict. Perhaps the fact

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