chicago

Frances Stark, this is not exactly a cat video: w/David Bowie’s “Star Man,” 2006, video, color, sound, 10 minutes 9 seconds.

Frances Stark

The Art Institute of Chicago

Frances Stark, this is not exactly a cat video: w/David Bowie’s “Star Man,” 2006, video, color, sound, 10 minutes 9 seconds.

For all its investment in media technology, “Intimism,” the first survey to home in on Frances Stark’s digitally based work, was at its heart a writerly exhibition. Stark weaves text through numerous media, from drawing to video to (in this instance) the museum’s Instagram feed, even applying something like an essayistic approach to designing her exhibition layout—a strategy that Charles Ray, an early mentor, once described to the artist as “writing in space.” While the resulting show readily displayed Stark’s playfulness and undeniable joie de vivre, it had an equally undeniable dark side—much of her work situates itself squarely at the seductive but shadowy nexus of hypercommunication, celebrity culture, sex, and late capitalism.

Curated by Kate Nesin, “Intimism” was one of the best uses of the museum’s designated contemporary-art space in recent memory. The exhibition’s

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