Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Who's Afraid of Jasper Johns?"

2nd/NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

The Swiss artist [Urs Fischer] commissioned the photographer Ellen Page Wilson to document Tony Shafrazi’s previous group show—artworks, walls, air ducts, security guards—then created seamless, to-scale trompe l’oeil wallpaper from the images. This evidential trace of the gallery’s last exhibition is now the ground against which nearly two dozen artworks, selected by Fischer and Brown and which at some point were in Shafrazi’s inventory, cagily rest.

Walking through the show is an uncanny delight: Like an autofocus lens unable to locate its subject, one’s mind and eyes strive to unscramble the artworks actually present from those that are verisimilar copies. A 1943 portrait by Francis Picabia is centered on the image of a Donald Baechler painting of a dandy and some beach balls...While the included artworks, in a white cube, would make for an odd group show, in this bizarro world harmonies arise.

The recognition dawns that Fischer and [dealer Gavin] Brown have concocted a surprisingly subtle meditation on the many lives of artworks...That such canny, simple gestures seem so refreshing is a gentle rebuke to the ossified conventions to which we all unthinkingly subscribe. -- Art Forum

"Who's Afraid of Jasper Johns?"
544 West 26th Street
May 9–July 12

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