new-york

Michael Bell-Smith, Magic Hands, 2012, HD video, color, sound, 3 minutes 14 seconds.

Michael Bell-Smith

Foxy Production

Michael Bell-Smith, Magic Hands, 2012, HD video, color, sound, 3 minutes 14 seconds.

There’s a pretty vacancy at the heart of Michael Bell-Smith’s four new videos that is as nauseous as anything in Sartre. Drawing on the fatally bland aesthetic of the stock shot and the digital template, Bell-Smith’s recent exhibition “mbs_fp_090712”—his third solo appearance at Foxy Production—confronted the viewer with what remains when “content” (in the Web-age sense of the term) is stripped away to leave only palettes and placeholders. It’s not that there are no images in these frictionlessly smooth projections—no moves, no marks, no “creative” decisions—only that they all have a queasy familiarity that suggests Groundhog Day reset in a low-rent graphic-design house. Yet they remain, in spite of this nagging, numbing, self-conscious blankness, weirdly, compulsively watchable. Empty calories, addictive.

Waves Clock (all works 2012) is the most pared down of

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