Good evening. For Expo Chicago, Gagosian Gallery has put together the darkest, most cohesive group show I’ve ever seen in an art fair booth. (I’m told it was assembled by Andy Avini, a Gagosian director who is also an artist, which makes sense—it seems the product of an artist’s eye.) One of two entrances takes you past a tough trio of works: Cady Noland’s Mirror Device (1987) comprises a mirror with a metal bar mounted in front of it, from which descend a pistol and handcuffs; the mirror reflects the adjacent silver John Chamberlain crushed car parts sculpture, Women’s Voices (2005). Kitty-corner is a black Andy Warhol Electric Chair.

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- bill 9-15-2017 9:20 pm

 Inside the booth, Richard Avedon’s portrait of the Chicago Seven hangs near a hot-pink Joe Bradley portrait bust of a man in agony, titled Despair. Nearby, Duane Hanson’s life-size, lifelike Tiananmen Square student protester slumps, with his thrown-down bike and ratty blanket, beneath a Steven Parrino anarchy symbol, a Warhol Statue of Liberty drawing, and a Douglas Gordon sculpture of a hand gripping—too tightly—a wrist. One of Chris Burden’s LAPD uniforms hangs opposite a large Ed Ruscha painting with the proportions of a movie screen, showing planet Earth floating against a sunset sky in orangey reds evocative of a raging fire. Around the corner is another Parrino work, a painting whose canvas is contorted into a goth black hole. Next to it is an Adam McEwen fake obituary—this one of Bill Clinton. Next to that is a Glenn Ligon text piece that begins COPS PUT A HURTING ON YOUR ASS, MAN. THEY REALLY DEGRADE YOU. It goes on to tell of beatings. On the floor is another Noland, a metal basket containing motor oil, spray paint, and tools. Warhol’s Tunafish Disaster is next to a Richard Prince photo of Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider, flipping the bird from the seat of his hog, the surface of the work riddled with actual bullet holes. Plopped in front of these pieces is McEwen’s life-size voting booth made entirely from graphite in dark gray that proves even more dead than black. Exiting the booth, you walk past another graphite McEwen sculpture, an airport security bin, TSA (2016), sitting in front of a baby-blue Ed Ruscha that reads AN EXTREMELY HOSTILE INDIVIDUAL. A right turn takes you past the wall that encloses the booth, and that houses the coup de grace: a guillotine that soars beyond the booth’s walls in front of a red Ruscha painting dated 2017, bearing the words of William Butler Yeats, THINGS FALL APART. (Across the aisle, it’s worth noting, is a stunning Pat Steir painting fronting the booth of Lévy Gorvy. The color in the Steir is predominantly red and—gruesome as this may seem—could be the spray from a decapitation.) On another exterior wall is one of Sterling Ruby’s fabric “vampire mouth” sculptures—jaws dripping blood—bearing the pattern of the American flag. Are Robert Therrien’s stainless-steel drops—No title (drops), 2017—cascading down another exterior wall suggestive of tears or the deluge that devastated Houston? Next to those drops is another graphite McEwen—an elevator button. The only way is up. Try to have a good weekend, readers. —Sarah Douglas, Editor-in-Chief

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- bill 9-16-2017 10:14 am [add a comment]

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