New York

Burt Barr

Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

There’s not much to see in Burt Barr’s videos. His work’s visual terseness, along with its frequently droll content, can come off as a dead- pan sight gag. (Dolly Shot Twice, 2000, for example, runs with a double pun, comprising two dolly-shot pans across a character, presumably named “Dolly”—played by the artist Jessica Craig-Martin— who has been made up to appear as though she has been shot twice in the head.) In light of this, one is tempted to approach his work with an eye toward “getting” the essential joke, though such attempts to interpret the five laconic black-and-white videos that made up Barr’s most recent exhibition at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. inevitably hit a dead end.

The works here largely follow a simple pattern. For each video, a camera was trained upon a single subject, for which the work was also named: The Gun, 2007, is a close-up of a hand holding a gun, which intermittently

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the October 2008 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.