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‘E-Flux Video Rental’ at the Sert, ‘Only Connect’ at the Mills, and Luigi Ontani at the Gardner
By RANDI HOPKINS  |  January 23, 2007

E-Flux Video Rental

Spending a rainy Saturday night curled up in front of Dodgeball or the first season of Six Feet Under is great and all, but what if you want to find Michael Auder’s “Polaroid Cocaine,” a five-minute, 1993 video montage of images that “dwell on the themes of death, destruction, and desire,” accompanied by cabaret music? (Auder has been described by Ed Halter in the Village Voice as “an embedded reporter within Andy Warhol’s pocket world of eager exhibitionists.”) Or how about Lawrence Weiner’s 1976 “A Bit of Matter and a Little Bit More,” a 20-minute cult classic with Weiner’s trademark texts superimposed on close-ups of three pairs of unidentified (but reportedly recognizable) curators having sex? Organized by artists Anton Vidokle and Julieta Aranda and opening February 8 at Harvard’s Sert Gallery (on the third floor of the Carpenter Center), “E-FLUX VIDEO RENTAL (EVR)” brings a library of some 700 unusual works of video art to town. The works, selected by an extensive gang of renowned curators and critics, are available to watch in the specially designed exhibition space. Or you can fill out a membership form and contract and then check things out and take them home, without charge.

EVR was first installed on New York’s Ludlow Street in 2004, and has since traveled to, among other places, Amsterdam, Seoul, and Miami. Vidokle and Aranda themselves will be on hand to talk about the project at 6 pm on opening night. Throughout EVR’s Cambridge run, a series of interesting characters will be invited to present curated screenings; check the Carpenter Center’s link to E-Flux’s Web site for the full schedule, which is still being developed.

Physical and emotional ties that bind are under scrutiny in “ONLY CONNECT,” which opens February 2 at the Boston Center for the Arts’ Mills Gallery. Video and new-media artists Smith/Stewart (the team name of duo Stephanie Smith and Edward Stewart), Lucas Michael, Chantal Zakari, Jillian McDonald (whose obsession with Billy Bob Thornton is cleverly documented), and Kurt Wahlstrom look at relationships among friends, family, lovers, strangers, and various combinations thereof. At the same time, in the Mills’ Project Space, “CATHY MCLAURIN: SOCK MONKEY KAMA SUTRA” has paintings that look at the complexities of love from a different angle.

Devotional images from the early 16th century seldom elicit a response that could be described as “edgy” — but then, contemporary Bolognese artist Luigi Ontani, whose “SCULPTURE & MEMORY: WORKS FROM THE GARDNER AND BY LUIGI ONTANI” opens at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on February 9, is an unusual character. Ontani is known for inserting his own body into various historical contexts in his work; for this show, he provides a new way of looking at devotional imagery, using his own face and physical self.

“E-Flux Video Rental” at Harvard’s Sert Gallery, 24 Quincy St, Cambridge | February 8–April 13 | 617.495.3251 | “Only Connect” and “Cathy McLaurin: Sock Monkey Karma Sutra” at BCA’s Mills Gallery, 539 Tremont St, Boston | February 2–March 18 | 617.426.8835 | “Sculpture & Memory: Works From The Gardner And By Luigi Ontani” at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 280 the Fenway, Boston | February 9–March 6 | 617.566.1401

On the Web
Sert Gallery:
Mill's Gallery:
Isabella Stewart Gardner:


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