June 23 —
September 10, 2005
Dr. Frankenstein: Would you mind telling me… whose brain… I did put in?
Igor: And you won’t be angry?
Dr. Frankenstein: I will not… be… angry.
Igor: Abby someone.
Dr. Frankenstein: Abby someone… Abby who?
Igor: Abby Normal.
Dr. Frankenstein: Abby Normal.
Igor: I’m almost sure that was the name.
— Mel Brooks, from the film Young Frankenstein
The voice of Gene Wilder howling “It’s alive!” echoes the work of John Bock, Bob Gramsma, Chris Hanson & Hendrika Sonnenberg, Tim Hawkinson, Josephine Meckseper and Rirkrit Tiravanija. With masterful timing, each puts the “d” in deadpan. From the popcorn-spewing pants of John Bock; to the buttons on Tim Hawkinson’s pile of laundry that metamorphosize into paranoid eyes tracking the viewer’s every move; to the anesthetizing of the building with a morphine drip in Bob Gramsma’s mysterious surgery prep piece; to Josephine Meckseper’s “unfashionable” faux-pas displaying a playful, artistic anti-ego; to Rirkrit Tiravanija’s worship of Sponge Bob-ian utopia; to Chris Hanson & Hendrika Sonnenberg’s full-scale polystyrene Zamboni, it is a close encounter of the fourth kind. If Frankenstein were in search of a brain, then these works, full of grey matter, all seem to be in search of a body that never quite materializes but is nonetheless eerily present. In a room thick with obsession, mania, dementia, pathos, inventiveness and empathy, these artists summon the ghosts of our time.