$30 worth of words

In a group show, it is reassuring to be confronted with expertise and experience, and it speaks volumes that the Amory Center for the Arts can draw from a pool of contemporary artists like Kim Abeles, Daniel Buren, Bruce Nauman, Ed Ruscha, Betty Saar, and Pae White, who have all previously created work for the organization, to commission new site-specific works and installations to celebrate their 20th Anniversary year. Furthermore, while eight of the works are off-site installations and performances (from skywriting to bike-powered chandeliers), the central exhibit at the Armory makes excellent use of the gallery space – including a narrow utility room where Saar creates a ghostly ambiance with hanging filmy black dress, a canoe skeleton, and an iron-wrought chair lit by blue neon. Many of the works are in their own room – Abeles’s and Ken Marchionno make canny use of digitally drawn “wallpaper” through which real video clips and photos of horses and Indians are displayed in drawn TV and computer screens, picture frames, and even holes in the wallpaper design, using the viewer’s voyeuristic desire to explore this apparently private bedroom as a means to question his own perceptions of Native Americans in today’s culture (Amory Center for the Arts, Pasadena).

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