new-york

Daphne Fitzpatrick

American Contemporary

To judge from her works’ titles, Daphne Fitzpatrick has a thing for vintage knockabout comedy—Abbott, Costello, Huey, Dewey, and Louie all got shout-outs in her recent exhibition “Whistle and Flute” (all works 2012). Formally, too, her art evokes a kind of cartoon surrealism, suggesting the contents of one of Wile E. Coyote’s shopping list for a visit to Acme—there was a wedge of plastic cheese on a handsaw, a giant key in a phony fireplace. And if we take at face value the non-sequitur list of names, facts, one-liners, and anecdotes issued in lieu of a press release, Fitzpatrick seems correspondingly averse to outwardly “serious” meaning, again channeling the Surrealists by privileging absurdity and illogic over coherence and consistency. As one item, quoting Preston Sturges, concludes: “A pratfall is better than anything.”

But there was more going on here than mere

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