Majoring and minering in theater

By GREG COOK  |  February 5, 2008

Mario Ybarra Jr. creates Sweeney Tate, a 2007 re-creation of a barber shop inspired by the former barber shop that he now uses as a gallery in Los Angeles — and, of course, by Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street. The Sweeney Todd–Tate thing is a lame pun, but there’s promise in the photos on the wall featuring designs Ybarra cut into the hair of friends: they combine drawing and barbering to begin to explore something about culture.

Andrea Fraser’s 2001 video Little Frank and His Carp is a gag on the audio tour of architect Frank Gehry’s landmark Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. She makes sad faces when the narrator talks about how difficult modern art is and happy faces when he explains how the building is supposed to make you feel more comfortable with this difficulty. As he prattles on about the sensual curves of the lobby, she presses herself against a wall, caresses it, lifts her mini dress to reveal her thong, strokes herself. It’s a mildly amusing performance that takes on a paper target. That’s the problem with much of the stuff here. It acts as if it were insightful and weighty and subversive, but its concerns are predominantly small and familiar and insular and tired.

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Related: Tempo tantrum, The roar of the greasepaint, Year in Art: Beyond the gloom, More more >
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Robert F. Kennedy, Visual Arts, Institute of Contemporary Art,  More more >
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