Thursday, April 13, 2006

Adam McEwen at Jack Hanley

For me, the best part of Adam McEwen’s recent opening at Jack Hanley Gallery was the conversation I had with the artist about his obituary series (not included in the show). McEwen is engaging, and conversation makes it clear that there are more layers in his works than might be evident from their flip first impressions. I wish there had been time for him to walk me around the galleries, bringing me inside the work. The show seemed pitched at some other kind of viewer, while I stood by, observing the transaction. I often thought, “that’s sort of interesting,” but didn't experience the unfolding zaps that this artist can deliver.

Here are images of a few works. In the first, I caught Jack Hanley in front of the mirrored piece, talking to a man who, in reflection, looks like a Francis Bacon figure (photo above).

There was a word painting with a blurred warning (photo above) and a blowup of an old Social Security card that seemed to document the illusion of security (photo below).

Fans of the recursive—remember Doug Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach?—will enjoy the floor piece in each gallery that illustrate the arrangement of works, including the floor piece itself (photo below).

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