New York

Miki Carmi

57 STUX + Haller Gallery

The curious thing about Miki Carmi’s recent portraits of his mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa is their apparent redundancy: each looks more or less the same as the next, confirming that they are members of one close-knit or even inbred family. All have bald, bulblike heads, and eyes that stare fixedly, stubbornly, to the left or right. There are some physical differences—skin tones range from chalk white to a ruddy pink, lips from thin to full, eyebrows from lowered to raised—but these don’t count for much, expressively. The figures seem to have the same mind-set and limited emotional range—there is certainly no testing of the limits of human expressiveness of the kind found in Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’s outwardly comparable sculptural self-portraits. Rather, Carmi’s “psychic readymades,” as he calls them, are a kind of modified bust portrait, leveling affect so as to more effectively evoke

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