James Gilbert

Dallas Contemporary

A pointed critique of the current regime of safety-consciousness, “Warnings & Instructions,” James Gilbert’s recent exhibition, took as its starting point a cartoonlike replica of a plane crash: an almost life-size fuselage, severed into three sections, and two lifeboats, all arrayed across the expansive floor of Dallas Contemporary’s new space. Made from safety-orange plywood armatures covered by a patchwork of plastic in various shades of pink, these structures had the plump proportions and candy colors of toys. To further emphasize the disturbing blitheness, Gilbert embellished the lifeboats with playground equipment. The mast of one vessel sports a basketball hoop, while a pool slide descends from its stern; a seesaw sits on the gunwale of the other boat—the effect is Théodore Géricault’s Raft of the Medusa reimagined as a pleasant diversion. Gilbert’s casual craftsmanship—threads

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