Cheap thrills

By GREG COOK  |  April 21, 2010

At times, Dr. Lakra gets away from magazine images with original, densely drawn phantasmagorias of morphing, melting faces and naked ladies in an old-comic-book style. The show touches on this work with two 50-foot-wide murals. One depicts a line-up of Aztec, African, and Indonesian idols, plus stacked wine bottles and a penis with legs. The other side conjures breasts, birds, smoke, a skull, a totem pole, a giant trophy with a demon perched on top, and a man’s head filled with visions of women. Both murals feel random, the imagery like a tired Raymond Pettibon knockoff, the painting technique slack.

Which clarifies where the power of his art comes from: the usual pulp titillations of sex and violence. His work is energized by the electricity of the old taboo against tattooing in the West — even as body art has become completely mainstream. And Dr. Lakra can sure draw. But it’s the combo of drawing and appropriated vintage images that makes everything hum. The show is about the comfortable thrill of naughtiness coated in nostalgia. Without those old pictures, the drawings lose their visual and emotional oomph. “Dr. Lakra” might not be deep, but it’s fun while it lasts.

Read Greg Cook’s blog at

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  | 
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Entertainment, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Abraham Cruzvillegas,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   EVOLVING PERSPECTIVES  |  July 23, 2014
    Somewhere around the 1950s, Florence Leif drastically changed her style.
  •   DOODLES, LIGHTS, AND DREAMS  |  July 16, 2014
    Gibson Prouty has found a muse — classic yellow pencils with pink erasers on the end.
  •   SEEING ANEW  |  July 09, 2014
    The aim of the RISD Museum’s eight newly renovated galleries for its permanent collection of fashion and Egyptian and Asian art seems to be “quiet contemplation.”
  •   BRIGHTNESS AND DARKNESS  |  June 25, 2014
    Constellations of mirror ball clouds dangle from the ceiling on pink cords at the center of the room and slowly rotate and sparkle. You’re invited to peer though weird, lumpy crystal-telescope-things.
  •   FIGHTING THE POWER  |  June 18, 2014
    It was around 1983 when Providence artist James Montford and a friend posed as photographers to check out the Ku Klux Klan rally in Norwalk, Connecticut.

 See all articles by: GREG COOK