Los Angeles

Steven Gontarski

Karyn Lovegrove Gallery

Hey kids, remember Gaëtan Dugas?

Canadian airline steward. Introduced AIDS into North America. Aka “Patient Zero.” The deadly nightshade of such fiction, produced to rationalize and naturalize the world’s terror, darkens the glamour of Steven Gontarski’s sculpture Prophet Zero I (all works 2003). His slim-hipped, pearlescent ephebe wears not a gnarga (a feline mask behind which baroque fags would catcall come-ons to fetching lads) but a medico della peste, a birdlike face cover sported by doctors during the plague years, with a beak filled with spices to purify the air breathed, here tipped with shining warning-red. The sculpture’s “body” isn’t right, it’s superand/or antinatural: Too long, thin legs willow up from strange toeless feet, which are joined to a base made of the same nacreous fiberglass as the figure itself; elegant arms end in witchy digits of all one length; shallow chest,

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