New York

Sarah Rapson, Classical Landscape, 2011, mixed media, 8 × 11 3⁄4".

Sarah Rapson, Classical Landscape, 2011, mixed media, 8 × 11 3⁄4".

Sarah Rapson

Essex Street

Tell me what you want, what you really really want

I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want.

Sarah Rapson deadpanned a variation of this call-and-response for sixteen minutes in an early audio work, stretching the refrain from this famous Spice Girls anthem on female solidarity into an exasperated mantra. At the entrance to Rapson’s survey at Essex Street, the piece could be heard through a set of headphones while on the wall opposite hung Untitled, a photogravure featuring the title page from a later edition of H. W. Janson’s History of Art (1962), that virtually womanless undergraduate-syllabus staple from the latter half of the twentieth century. Upon this sheet of paper, Rapson superimposed a picture of a Bridget Riley painting, the undulating Op-art stripes of which obscure the name of Dora Jane Janson, H. W.’s wife and, occasionally, coauthor. Together, these pieces, both

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