From his undergraduate days onward, Ryan Trecartin has displayed the sort of raw talent that inspires recourse to German: Wunderkind, Gesamtkunstwerk, Zeitgeist. In this respect, and several others, the most salient point of comparison to Trecartin’s career is Matthew Barney’s ascension in the 1990s. Call it the Clark Kent Effect: The art world keeps coronating fresh-faced male phenoms from the heartland. Like Barney, Trecartin combines cinematic video suites with baroque sculptural installations, maintains from project to project the same close-knit cadre of collaborators (chief among them Lizzie Fitch), situates narratives in alternate realities governed by warped yet ironclad logics, and turns repeatedly to the theme of human transformation, across the gender spectrum and along a more fantastical axis spanning the feral, the mythological, and the cybernetic. What separates
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