, Robert Miller Gallery
Jessica D. K. Park
Contemporary Chinese art has garnered serious attention
among mainstream art institutions in the West, particularly
since the early 1990s. International art journalism has
shown a special interest in Chinese "political pop"
art, which, because of the Chinese government's notorious
censorship policies, could not be shown in China. Chinese
conceptual artist, Ai Weiwei, born in Beijing in 1957, has
been at the forefront of this art movement. This show, the
artist's first exhibition in New York since 1988, focuses
on the artist's recent work, presenting a comprehensive
selection of his paintings, sculptures, photographs, and
There is a rebellious core at the heart of Weiwei's work
that rejects Chinese authority and questions assumptions
based on logic. He often conveys his ideas by manipulating
his country's cultural artifacts. For example, in the combined
installation called White Wash and Dropping a Han Dynasty
Urn, he lines up dozens of gray colored vessels on shelves
mounted to the wall, along with series of black and white
photographs. The photographs document the artist's dropping
one of the jars onto the ground, smashing it into pieces.
The viewer is shocked to learn that this jar was in fact
a thousand-year-old Chinese antique treasure, which Weiwei
had colored gray, so that it looked like an ordinary clay
vessel, before destroying it.
The show includes only one of Weiwei's furniture installations,
titled BENCH. For his furniture works, the artist utilizes
beams from ancient Chinese temples, built hundreds of years
ago. His furniture is crafted according to the same techniques
of classical Chinese construction, requiring months of handcrafting,
and though he gleans remnants from a past existence, these
elements take on new life here. The harsh friction between
the past and the present are joined together in the tangible
form of smooth wood that shows its structure and grain on
Weiwei's creations appear calm and peaceful, despite the
many tensions that inform the work. Sometimes his attempt
to challenge the symbol of political and national authority,
and cultural imperialism, can seem frivolous, however. He
rebels against everything, pointing a finger at symbols
as diverse as the White House, the Eiffel Tower, the Reichstag
and the infamous events of Tiananmen Square in Beijing or
painting the word, FUCK in four separate large canvases.
Where did the soft-outside, but strong-inside kung fu master
go? In this regard, Weiwei's small works in this show convey
have more power than the larger, physically imposing installations.
9/9 through 10/9.
Phelan, Ameringer Yohe Fine Art
In these new paintings,
some twenty-two canvases, Ellen Phelan reveals her personal
life in candid, evocative images of herself and her immediate
family depicted in casual situations at home. At first glance,
the shadowy frames resemble daguerreotypes, stressing their
Shadow and light alternate and mingle subtly in a carefully
modulated baroque interplay in which a still life or vase
of flowers is suffused with light, while family members
are present but remain partially hidden in shadow. The flickering
still-lifes suggest lush opulent influences within the family
relationships. In these quietly bold works, Phelan handles
paint delicately, leaving blurred images that draw the viewer
in for a closer look at surprisingly abstract, economical
9/9 through 10/9.
Cotton, Mary Boone Gallery
by Joyce Korotkin
reference and the inclusion of the figure have taken on
an increasing importance in Will Cotton's meticulously painted
candy-scapes of forbidden desire. Two works are of particular
interest in this regard. With the simply ravishing Cotton
Candy Cloud, the artist reaches a stunning new level of
seemingly effortless painterly brushwork. Within a hotbed
of roiling pink sugary thunderclouds, reclines a sultry,
beckoning Titan-haired nude, as dramatically painted as
a Carravaggio, as pellucid as a Turner or Hudson River Landscape
sky, and as overtly sexual as a porn magazine centerfold.
Pre- or post-coital,
her pink-tinged skin recalls the lavender powder of John
Singer Sargent's scandalous Madame X, and is as cloyingly
sweet and edible as the cloud itself. A latter day Olympia,
she is a visual feast, inciting lust for the two most primal
and rigidly repressed human needs and desires: food and
sex. Food, specifically a naughty indulgence in the forbidden
sweets that release endorphins, has long been Cotton's signature
metaphor for seduction. Like dancing with the devil, in
these works Cotton opens the door wide and invites the temptress
In earlier works,
the figures were additions to the candy-scapes, almost as
if they were another form of candy to be savored. Here,
the figure and ground, as it were, are wedded seamlessly,
but the figure, as in classical painting, takes precedence.
This is evident in his image of an Odalisque, referencing
those of Ingres and Magritte, who sits with her back to
the viewer, slathered in what appears to be scoops of melting
vanilla custard. Hung directly across the gallery space
from Cloud, the two paintings engage the viewer in a dialog
with art history that covers theoretical issues, such as
subject matter, as well as formal issues of technique and
style, in a manner that is at once witty and profound.
9/11 through 10/23.
Godfrey, Black & White Gallery
By flexing and
systematically bolting lengths of steel sheets into fluid
round forms, and stacking them carefully on top of each
other, Dewitt Godfrey creates delightful, airy wall sculptures
that simultaneously contain and negate space. His piece,
Picker Sculpture, is presented in two versions.
The indoor version, a floor-to-ceiling work that consists
of ten vertically stacked open steel cylinders of varying
sizes, is bolted securely together, extending from wall
to wall and blocking entry to the back. Viewers have to
walk through the piece, feeling the tensed steel crunch
underfoot, in order to reach the other side. In the back
of the gallery, in the outdoor courtyard, we find the outdoor
version. Larger than the work in the main gallery, this
piece loosely mirrors the indoor version.
Both pieces converge on the balance of absence and presence,
weight and airiness. The cylindrical steel forms appear
linear and spatially open when viewed from afar. Secured
steel shapes that hold nothing, they define and confine
space, constituting a lofty wall. Although made of steel,
the work appears weightless and light, reminiscent of a
magnified, three-dimensional cross-section of porous matter.
Approaching and walking through it, however, the viewer
responds to the potential tension contained within the lengths
of metal strips that are kept in place with nuts and bolts.
The interplay between tension and resilience, hinged on
the steel's flexibility, is articulated to the viewer through
the experience of walking, conveying a floating sensation
while being weighted to the ground.
The sculpture's individual elements, the compositional geometry
of circles and ellipses that make up the whole, vary in
size from about a foot in diameter to several feet across.
Ovoid, circular, or consisting of an asymmetrical combination
of both, these forms interact with one another other, enhancing
the visual excitement inherent in the work. The smaller
forms fit precisely within the gaps between larger loops.
The positing of space is an important property of this sculpture.
If space can be defined as the expanse of "nothingness"
within the three-dimensional field, then Godfrey's sculpture
plays out the rhythms between something and nothing.
Fusing open forms with the weighty liquidity of metal; creating
shadows, depths and voids by overlapping steel loops, Godfrey's
sculpture sets off a playful exchange between presence and
absence that incorporates emptiness as a tangible factor,
almost visible in the mind's eye inside of the metal.
In her new series
of mixed media wall reliefs, Lucy Williams creates buildings,
interiors and outdoor municipal spaces that combine the
accuracy of architectural renderings with a super-realism
that is infused with a magical feeling of unspoken narrative.
The textural elements
Williams meticulously layers and manipulates give a surprising
warmth to the unused lounges, swimming pools, skating rinks
and ski slopes, possibly inspired by dioramas. In sharp
contrast, the cold neutral tones and predominant whiteness
of her paper elements establish a relationship with the
pure esthetic that is typically found in Japanese miniatures
and Zen gardens.
Her inventive highly detailed application of "real"
materials (needlepoint skies, cut-paper leaves, intaglio
and bas-relief interior furnishings) lend convincing presence
to these imaginative precision images of public and private
9/10 through 10/9.
Driven", Eyejammie Fine Arts Gallery
This group photography
show brings to life the musical history of VP Records. VP
Records is to dance hall reggae what Def Jam Records is
to Hip Hop. Started in Kingston Jamaica, the company is
now based in Jamaica Queens, New York. Portraits of founders
Vincent "Randy" Chin and Pat, with Fats Domino
at their flagship store in Jamaica, Randy's Records, are
shown next to contemporary reggae stars such as Sean Paul,
Buju Banton and Beenie Man, set against urban backdrops,
stages, nature and in the studio and dance hall.
Several photographs capture the atmosphere of the close-knit
record company, VP Records, and the dance hall reggae scene.
For example, Ajamu Myrie's West Indian Day Parade, New York
City, 1999, shows a crush of dark bodies, in the colorful
clothing and head ties of the Jamaican and Trinidadian flags,
flowing below the moving sea of green leaves on surrounding
trees. The VP Records 20th Anniversary Float is peopled
with performers and dancers rousing the crowd with their
Another photograph by Ajamu Myrie of a performance by the
musical group, Elephant Man, in New Jersey in 2000, shows
the gleeful faces of the mostly female audience as the star
and a female performer, her breasts exposed, cavort on their
backs on stage. Here is unapologetic, raucous fun at its
The words, Dub Room One Love, are seen written on a metallic
door that leads to a recording studio. This photograph also
indicates the roots of dance hall music. At the other end
of the spectrum, Reggae Show Sign, NYC, 2002, by David Corio,
shows the darker side to the dance hall lifestyle. Here,
the handwritten poster on the metal door reads: "No
guns, No knives, No Bottles, No Sticks, No Fireworks, No
Alcohol or drugs, No Animals." The music scene in Jamaica
from the 1950s until now is vividly documented in this show.
Dance Hall Queen at the Opening of Don Lett's Dance hall
Queen, 1995, by Adrian Boot, shows women in wigs with crimped
extensions, wearing bright red and yellow outfits and platform
shoes, dancing with their legs spread, arms extended and
their rear ends protruding provocatively. In a similarly
themed shot, Wayne Tippet captures Wendy, Dance hall Queen,
Kingston, 1994. In this two-tiered composition we see Wendy,
clothed in a white robe with an assortment of candy colored
wigs around her on a bed. In the lower half of the composition
she is shown in her white bikini with high white vinyl boots
and white fishnet stockings, her ample flesh protruding
brown and thick through the apertures.
Many of these images depict the musical stars performing,
but some show another side to the artists. Out of the tough
guy role, in a more tender moment, the photographer called
Afflicted captures Sean Paul having his hair braided in
Jack's Hill, Kingston, 2003.
Lee Perry in the Swiss Alps, c. 1990, by Adrian Boot, shows
the legendary musician sitting regally against the backdrop
of a snow-capped mountain range. He is dressed in a heavy
red cape, lined with white fur. His crown is gold and red
and he holds a scepter in one hand. A Swiss flag, red with
a white cross waves in the wind next to him. Kings of dance
hall they may be, but these men and women offer a view of
a free and easy existence, grounded in music and laughter
A Survey of New Shows
by Joel Simpson
On the third Friday
of each month, most of the galleries and art related venues
in Williamsburg hold their evening openings. These shows
generally remain on view for about three to five weeks after
that. Last month, this date was moved up to the second Friday,
September 10. An evening's stroll around the art neighborhood,
facilitated by an M / Williamsburg map (book-marked on page
32 of last month's issue), produced a crop of whimsical
surprises. What follows is an overview of some especially
notable shows, many of which still can be seen this month.
LUNARBASE (see Williamsburg Listings)
Savako Gallery owner Yuko Kawase-Wylie has dedicated her
gallery to what she calls "characterism", by which
she intends a critique of escapist popular culture.
Her means appear to be artworks which both satirize and
embrace the cute and cartoonish. This show, dubbed Planet
Pajamaja by the single-named Japanese artist Savako, offers
an elaborate illustration of her approach. Savako has constructed
a fanciful, utopian sci-fi world that comes right out of
1950s comic books of molded, painted plastic creatures and
Flash Gordon, watch out!
But all of these creatures are benign. Pajamaja, it turns
out, is a retro-futurist carnavalesque planet dedicated
to Love and Peace, populated with Fisher-Price toys on steroids.
Gaily colored hard plastic blob forms, in various sizes,
some red with three vertical eyes, others with antennae
on ovoid heads, surround a central platform where a creature
whose two eyes face in opposite directions holds court.
Is this cultural critique, or harmless fun? The subtext
is not entirely clear, other than nostalgia for naive futurism.
Still, Savako must be praised for the elaborateness of her
installation, which really does transform the gallery space
into a charming Other-world.
PIEROGI (see Williamsburg Listings)
Pierogi à Go-Go: Brooklyn Gravity Racers The big
crowd at Pierogi's suggested more than the usual opening,
even by Williamsburg standards. Indeed, the gallery is celebrating
its ten-year anniversary by staging an innovative race for
wooden gravity-driven race-cars, made by some 300 contributing
Derby" kits, designed for Cub Scout use (a five inch
long block of wood, with four plastic wheels and mounting
pins), are lined up in rows, each one more imaginative than
the other. There are cars shaped like recognizable objects
such as a banana, a rat, a fly, a nude human figure, a coffin,
a slice of lasagna, a sailing ship, a stuffed baked potato;
or bearing familiar cultural objects, including a mousetrap,
Snow-White and the Witch in Pez dispensers, medical vials,
monster eyes on springs, house plants, a MacDonald's French
fries bag with insulation foam spilling out...
Then there are
the high-concept ones: an ichneumon-like chassis, a partially
carved block with the wood scraps still attached and ready
to roll, a large nail mounted in two eye screws ready to
pierce a sitting egg on impact, labeled "politics of
the future." The actual race, to take place along a
sixty-foot curving track, will be held early this month,
October 6. Meanwhile the gallery offers an overflowing inventory
of peeks into the fervid fantasies of local carving artists.
BLACK AND WHITE GALLERY (see Williamsburg
DeWitt Godfrey Imagine gigantic, different sized bracelets
of flexible steel (technically Cor-ten steel, that seals
itself rusty by weathering), piled on top of each other
across a walled-in space like so many truncated bubbles.
This is what DeWitt
Godfrey, sculpture professor at Colgate University, has
done both outdoors and indoors in this pair of works called
Picker Sculpture. The flexible rings of steel measure from
between 2x2 feet to 9x9 feet, and they bend into a variety
of rounded loops ‹ ovals, kidney shapes ‹ as
they accommodate each others' weight. In contrast to the
stark, industrial feel of Richard Serra's massive steel
constructs that rigidly partition space along odd angles,
Godfrey uses the medium in communicative, more humorous
His steel ensemble
becomes a jumbo bubble-comb of viewing frames through which
the people on each side see each other. Meanwhile the figures'
massive scale and provisional stability inspires awe.
GALLERY BOREAS (see Williamsburg
Janel Swangstu: Janel Swangstu's series of photograms (camera-less
images on photosensitive paper) was a nice discovery. She
places a transparent grid of square receptacles over photo
paper and adds small amounts of colored liquid to each square.
The result is a limited-color palette pattern of liquid
shapes that contrast with the regular geometry of the squares
that contain them.
These enigmatic, intriguing variations on the same same
theme, in shades of light blue and mustard, suggest something
you might find inside a medical laboratory, albeit with
PLUS ULTRA GALLERY
235 South 1st
Treasure Hunt, Nicholas Gaffney
(through Oct. 11)
Nature photographer Nicholas Gaffney unleashes a witty commentary
on both nature purists and junk food addicts, alike. Ironically
titled Treasure Hunt, Gaffney photographs Marshmallows,
Hershey's Chocolate Kisses, Spam and Hostess' Twinkies (Yes,
they still make Twinkies...) among other items, in the wild.
The most compelling images look as though the unwrapped
products had grown there, like a new species of mushrooms,
or seed-pods. Others are less well integrated, suggesting
the mischievous hand of the photographer, but Gaffney is
onto something, drawing comic attention to the unwholesome
nature of these consumables. Tasty, though.
SCHROEDER ROMERO GALLERY
173A North 3rd Street
Small Towns, Janice Caswell
(through Oct. 11)
Caswell's elaborate designs using plastic-topped pins, which
she calls Small Towns, have an appeal similar to that of
wire sculpture; modest linear means in extravagant shapes
that sometimes evoke objects, sometimes not. The lines curve
and swirl, often intersecting, like so many ants following
their capricious leaders, and casting shadows that make
them look much more substantial than they really are.
Williamsburg has certainly come a long way in a remarkably
short period of time. Where once crack viles had littered
the streets, and memorials to murdered gang-bangers were
painted on the sides of foreboding warehouse buildings less
than a decade ago, today real estate agents mix it up with
mom & pop shop owners, aspiring art dealers and emerging
artists in an endless sea of young talent. It's no longer
a walk on the wild side, but maybe that's not so bad after
Ed Note: The
DeWitt Godfrey exhibition at Black and White Gallery is
discussed at further length in is this issue, by Lily Faust,
on page 10.
, James Cohan Gallery
acclaimed filmmaker, whose work has found its niche over
the years in the hard to define territory between the commercial
feature film and the seemingly uncompromising art film,
with such releases as Paris, Texas (1984), Wings of Desire
(1987) and the documentary, Buena Vista Social Club (1999),
presents here an austere selection of ten photographs; still
life visual observations from his travels in Japan and Australia.
Panoramic in scope, the images center on the desolate terrain
of the Australian Outback, and on the quiet intensity of
Japanese forests that yield clues to the transformative
effects of time. Unlike his films where the images and words
drive the narrative forward, Wenders' photographs hold on
to corners of a quiet planet visited by a sagacious pilgrim
(himself), capturing views of sparse lands.
In the photograph, Dust Road in West Australia (1988), a
dirt road disappears in the expanse that lies against an
impersonal blue sky. The tawny red of the earth mutates
into the blue of the sky, in mid-horizon. The solitary road
bisects the land. It appears that the last visitors to this
site had veered to the right, leaving only tire tracks as
evidence of human presence. The lens captures the topography's
grandness; the large format of the color prints conveys
a sense of the earth's true face. Wenders focuses his gaze
out into the land, nudging the viewer to confront craggy
hills and a verdant forest. Meteorite Crater, West Australia,
and Rock with Inscriptions, Japan articulate the landscape's
natural rhythms through the repetitive configuration of
crags around a crater, and the local climate's incremental
effects on the rocks. The images reveal patterns inherent
to the land, with allusions to classical Chinese ink drawings.
This show also includes three extraordinary portraits. One
depicts an insect, the praying mantis, while the other two
portraits are of wooden statues that represent a monk and
another holy figure, both from the Toshodaiji Temple in
Nara, Japan. Ganjin Statue at the Toshodaiji Temple (2000)
depicts Ganjin, a blind monk who introduced Zen Buddhism
to the Japanese court in VIII. Century A.D. The statue is
made of wood, which has aged to a very dark hue over time.
Wenders apparently used a long exposure and a penlight to
illuminate the sculpture from below. The monk seems to be
illuminated from within, emanating a gold light that dramatically
alters the look on his face. The light radiates downward
from underneath his brow, as if shedding light from his
blind eyes, his nostrils and around his chin.
Ganjin's serene expression evokes the image of god. Wenders
avoids the reportorial here, reaching, instead, for the
spiritual. There is a heart-crushing delicacy to the image,
suggesting an implied mystery of the divine.
In Holy Figure (2000) the holy man's gaze is disengaged
from his immediate surroundings. We see the texture up close,
the grain of the wood along with its discoloration and cracks.
The photograph's proximity to the subject, and hence to
the viewer, and the large format of the print (close to
119 inches high) have the effect of holding the viewer in
the holy man's visual and meditative realm.
Here, as in Wenders' films, details matter. Focusing on
the often-overlooked fragments of an under-observed world,
his Praying Mantis (2000) shows a delicate creature, remarkably
distinct and self-possessed despite its diminutive appearance.
Isolated on a pristine wooden surface, with a sliver of
sharp green visible near its wings, the tiny figure is perched
elegantly its four legs of thread. The geometry of the solid
diagonal slab in the background contrasts with the insect's
mechanical, angular body. This work is remarkable for its
nuance, focusing on one aspect of one moment that Wenders
manages to delineate into an eternity.
Deacon, Marian Goodman Gallery
by Mary Hrbacek
Richard Deacon's new large-scale wood and metal sculptures
combine a highly crafted, skillful use of materials with
a playful, imaginative, intuitive feeling for flowing, undulating
forms. The ambitious size of the two-part Red Sea Crossing
that fills the front space of the gallery allows Deacon
a free hand to create intricate, complex linear movements
that suggest roller coasters, expressway overpasses and
large farm implements.
by loops, twisted wooden boards, folds, curves, and tunnels
that multiply and repeat; the energetic, surprising rhythms
become all the more diverting when one ponders how these
wave-like un-encumbered forms that flow like malleable wire
sculpture were fashioned from twisted, bolted boards.
9/8 through 10/7.
Sanguinetti, Yossi Milo Gallery
by Nicolette Ramirez
This series of
color prints by Argentinian-American, Alessandra Sanguinett,
dubbed The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Enigmatic
Meaning of Their Dreams raises several questions pertaining
to the nature of the relationship between the two girls
depicted. Their physical contrasts, one girl is obese, while
the other is slim, suggest a possible sexual connotation.
Beauty, friendship, and the psychological role-playing that
comes with adolescence are some of the themes that seem
to inform this work.
Sanguinetti photographed the girls, who are cousins, over
a five year period, starting from when they were nine and
ten years old, into adolescence, against the backdrop of
the Argentinian countryside. Combining arranged and spontaneous
scenes, Sanguinetti explores the youthful dreams, fears
and fantasies of children becoming adolescents. Utilizing
theatrical costumes, stage props and make-up, the cousins,
Guille and Belinda, act out mostly their adult photographer's
In an image called The Necklace, 1999, Sanguinetti has the
girls dressed up in colorful prints, lipstick and jewelry.
The obese girl admires the necklace of her slim cousin who
stares, knowingly, into the camera. In another role playing
scene, The Couple, 1999, the slim girl appears in drag,
as a shirtless man with a mustache, while her obese partner,
wearing only underwear, hugs the butch caricature.
Physical contact is an integral element to these girl's
relationship, as depicted here. Such whimsy does not preclude
Sanguinetti's photographic skills are remarkable. The quality
of light captured in these prints enhances the fleshiness
of the girls' skin, skillfully exaggerating their blossoming
beauty. The contrast of light and dark, and the marbleizing
effect of light on the skin, suggests a Georges de la Tour
Other members of the girls' family, as well as local men
and women, play a role in these photographs too, drawing
the adult, outside world into the intimacy of the girls'
semi-private universe. But in the end, this is really an
adult fantasy vicariously lived out in the camera's eye.
9/9 through 10/23.
, Howard Greenberg Gallery
by Joel Simpson
Kenro Izu has
acquired a well-deserved reputation as the consummate platinum
photographer of ancient stone temples. Toting a giant 14x20
inch view camera to the Angkor Wat and other sacred places
around the world, Izu has captured their solemn dignity
with thoughtful, often astonishing compositions that integrate
skies, bizarre flora (such as the prodigiously engulfing
banyan trees), and the structures themselves. Look at a
postcard or any tourist brochure from one of these places,
and you are struck by the aesthetic distance Izu had to
travel to fashion his monochrome platinum images of these
archeological subjects seemingly out of the grey air of
In this exhibition, Izu turns his gaze to the human form,
a gaze that we have come to expect will be charged with
a profound meditation on its subject. The nineteen images
of a nude female subject,14x20 inch platinum/palladium with
cyanotype, are deep blue, barely visible in their dark blue
field. The theme is intimate privacy ‹ one of the
most successful thematic uses of the inevitable blue of
In eighteen of the nineteen images the subject faces away
from the camera.
The viewer feels the lens prying into a dark, private corner
of the subject's existence, one that she seems to want to
keep pure and hidden. Is Izu violating something by taking
us there? Even the possibility of this is a masterstroke
of atmospheric evocation and implicit drama. He takes us,
however, only to the liminal brink of observation, and until
the very last image we see only shoulders, back, thighs,
arms, buttocks, hands. Finally, at the end, her body faces
the camera, but not her eyes. We have encroached on her
privacy, but not her spirit.
Even the framing adds mystery: the contact images are mounted
on aluminum and protrude about half an inch out from their
black mats. The effort that it takes just to see the barely
illuminated, but classically appealing forms draws the viewer
into the darkened room, and one almost feels like apologizing
to the model in the end.
Sack , Ariel Meyerowitz Gallery
by Joel Simpson
New Jersey native,
Belgian-based Stephen Sack has apparently discovered a new
source of ancient, stylized imagery, similar to that found
on rock art in the American West. Abstract faces, phantom
beasts, fragmentary architecture ‹ all strong, compelling
images in lustrous settings.
Sack's highly magnified photographs, mostly of ancient coins
that came from a wide variety of sources (Roman coins from
Alexandria, Gaul and Judea; Indo-Greek coins from Afghanistan;
medieval Islamic coins from Iraq and
Turkey) show the transformative effects of chronic corrosion
and considerable handling. These effects serve to stylize
the images and frame them in the brilliant colors and random
patterns of centuries of oxidation.
Some images depict simple, unadorned figures, like the one
of the faceless king Apollodotus on the Indo-Greek coin
found in Afghanistan. A study in golds, bronzes and coppers,
the irregularities of the metal surface offer a chaotic
background against which the figure clearly, but equally
pocked and striated with wear, emerges. In the photograph
titled Gallery with Six Rowers and Helmsman, from the period
of the emperor Hadrian, one only barely descries the ship
against its splotchy background, which makes it all the
more remarkable. An Indian elephant is a copper silhouette
against a verdigris background with dots of more intense
green. A mournful Gallo-Belgic face in dark blues on an
iron-age coin from the 1st Century BCE actually evokes more
recent Keltic iconography as found in stone sculptures in
Brittany. The Third Century Roman emperor Postumus has himself
depicted as Fides, god of loyalty, between two standards
adorned with stylized stars in dark grey against moltely
white and bright green. And a dark reddish brown palm tree
silhouette tops a primitive Hebrew inscription commemorating
the second revolt against Rome in 132 CE amid a riot of
reds, oranges, acquas and whites.
Sack has discovered another angle on the Romance of Ruins.
By lifting these images out of their numismatic context
he presents them as what might be called ³metaloglyphs²‹
striking traces left over from a wide variety of extinct
cultures, whose art never looked as contemporary as this.
9/7 through 10/30.