Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dan Tague & co's "State of Fear" at Barrister's; Peter Hoffman's "Terrarium" at Good Children


My  cousin, who has lived most of her life in the French Quarter, says she never crosses the river to the West Bank because “there's nothin' but weirdos over there.” But I have always liked their spirit, and Dan Tague, who curated this State of Fear show, is a proud son of Marrero. His large photo of his hand flipping the finger at General Robert E. Lee's statue illustrates his passion for... “repetition of form” -- an art theory concept here positing the formal relationship of one shaft to another. Simpatico passions pervade this dramatic and emphatic expo, in works like Rajko Radovanovic's graphics exploring the fetishization of power, or some chillingly Orwellian photographic light-boxes (like Red Riot, right) by trans-Atlantic duo Generic Art Solutions, depicting militarized urban police forces. A vibrant tapestry by Daphne
Loney and Ashley Robbins, left, evokes a labyrinthine contour map of a female body with “I Am Not an Object for Breeding” stitched over boldly colored thread. Brian St. Cyr's intricate, swastika-shaped rodent cage sculpture, The Banality of Evil, reminds us that neo-Nazis have felt empowered lately. Jessica Bizer's vividly ornamental poster, Time to Freak Out! says it all. Such times call for superheroes, but Chris Saucedo's Comic Book Diplomacy collage, top, reveals a bootleg foreign Superman lost in a maze of alien phrases--proof that undocumented superheroes pose an existential threat to America. 

Peter Hoffman's new work is surprising because expressionistic paintings of athletes are fairly rare. Yet, beyond their moments embodying the hopes and dreams of their communities, athletes are only human and their ego-driven foibles lend themselves to expressionist irony in scenes where brassy, Aryan looking women pump iron or strut their stuff in sleek swimsuits. Their human side resurfaces in some whimsical smaller images like Athlete with Aloe, left, where they blend into the background amid lush aloes, those languid, jade green succulents that eternally embody the delicate resilience of the flesh. ~Bookhardt / State of Fear: Group Show Curated by Dan Tague, Through April 1, Barrister's Gallery, 2331 St. Claude Ave, 710-4506; Terrarium: New Paintings by Peter Hoffman, Through April 2, Good Children Gallery, 4037 St. Claude Ave., 616-7427.

See Also: Why Dana Schutz's cynical, intentionally tone deaf portrait of Emmett Till in his coffin at the Whitney Biennial is a crime against human decency.

(Note: We respect Dana Schutz as a very good artist and oppose removing her Emmett Till death painting from the Whitney show -- but, we still regard it as a cynical publicity stunt that violates the age old tradition of respect for the dead, especially dead private citizens. Consequently, we regard click bait spectacle art as aesthetic Trumpism. Whitney Biennial curator Christopher Lew gives his take on it in an interview, but for us he blew the whistle on himself and Schutz with this line: "There’s been a huge reaction to Dana’s painting, of course... things have not slowed down since the show opened—we’re literally having lines around the block...")

Related: How the "Like" button made everyone dumber with every click and rapidly ruined the internet.