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Air Kissing


Air Kissing is a pretty uneven show but then again so is its subject, the Art World. Curator Sasha Archibald has assembled over a dozen contemporary artists and just as many disciplines to comment on that eminently lampoon-able planet with results that range from penetrating to glib. At the deep end of the pool treads Alex Bag. Her 1995 Cindy Sherman-meets-Zelig video depicting a pageant of conjured SVA students is a masterpiece of observation and portrayal. Anyone who has gone through Art School has either sat next to one of her concoctions or been one them. Andrea Fraser unleashes her own virtuosic parody of an Art World staple, the blow hard, on a group of unwitting gallery-goers in a video that transcends goof and achieves something like a Sylvia Path poem. David Hammons and Jason Irwin turn in the few simply gorgeous works in the show; both are expert retoolings of common objects, a bible and a plinth, that are great not only for ogling but pondering as well. Yet it is transcendence that is missing from too much of the work in this show. There are smart remarks and valid observations but they often neglect to be artful, or so blindingly cunning that they donít need to be. It is hard to be clever, poignant, and pointed and still be a pleasure to behold. I would understand that that was too much to ask if every so often it didnít get done so well.

—Rodger Stevens