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It could be some late, last-gasp cultural tendency, a kind of postmodern dead-cat bounce, or it might be a marketing tag designed to evoke a mood and excite demand for an offering of year-end schlock schlock also shlock   Slang
Something, such as merchandise or literature, that is inferior or shoddy.

Of inferior quality; cheap or shoddy.
. In any case, Decemberism" is a strange neologism A new word or new meaning for an existing word. The high-tech field routinely creates neologisms, especially new meanings. Years ago, there was no doubt that a "mouse" referred only to a furry, little rodent. , redolent red·o·lent  
1. Having or emitting fragrance; aromatic.

2. Suggestive; reminiscent: a campaign redolent of machine politics.
 of both the categorizing zeal of the theoretician the·o·re·ti·cian  
One who formulates, studies, or is expert in the theory of a science or an art.

 and the satisfyingly hopeless longing of the romantic. The exhibition to which Lucy McKenzie affixed af·fix  
tr.v. af·fixed, af·fix·ing, af·fix·es
1. To secure to something; attach: affix a label to a package.

 this title late last year toyed with both these various semantic possibilities, encouraging the viewer to juggle any number of flips and reversals. Even for those who had seen her assured contribution to the first Beck's Futures show at London's ICA Ica (ē`kä), city (1993 pop. 108,724), capital of Ica dept., SW Peru, on the Pan-American Highway. It is a commercial center for the cotton, wool, and wine produced in the region. There are several summer resorts nearby.  a few months earlier, "Decemberism" was a rich brew. Canvases of varying sizes and styles crowded the walls. Abstract grounds suggestive of Suprematist cool sat alongside others bursting with Expressionist fervor. Imagery from the world of sports at both Olympic and amateur level was combined with a range of textual and decorative elements borrowed from contemp orary pop posters, banners, and announcements, as well as the classic turn-of-the-century design of the Wiener Werkstatte and Glasgow Art Nouveau. Figuration fig·u·ra·tion  
1. The act of forming something into a particular shape.

2. A shape, form, or outline.

3. The act of representing with figures.

4. A figurative representation.

 was realist, almost photorealist at times, as in Curious, 1998, a close-up rear view of a female hurdler bent over at the starting blocks, while elsewhere it aped the Vorticism vorticism (vôr`tĭsĭzəm), short-lived 20th-century art movement related to futurism. Its members sought to simplify forms into machinelike angularity. Its principal exponent was a French sculptor, Gaudier-Brzeska.  of David Bomberg. A battered, white painted wooden screen stood bunched up toward one corner of the room, partially obscuring some of the paintings and perhaps implying that we should be concerned less with detached contemplation than with finding a meaning. And at every turn the question as to whether one was dealing with froth or substance hovered nearby.

The image in Mckenzie's Vorticist Force the Hand of Choice II, 2000, is taken from the opening ceremony of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and the same pageant of men in blue tailcoats pounding away on banked-up grand pianos is used for the ambiguously titled They Are Lying on Their CVs, 2000. It is both a laughable scene and an understandable one in view of the ludicrous yet ever so serious tit-for-tat boycotts that went on at that time. The other side of the coin is visible in Sport March, 2000, a gray monochrome with the repeated words of the title pulsing down the right-hand side of the canvas (in Russian). Thin strips in the colors of the Olympic rings run around the picture's edge, tying a faint nod to lmi knoebel into the painting's mix of Suprematist, socialist realist, and Constructivist con·struc·tiv·ism  
A movement in modern art originating in Moscow in 1920 and characterized by the use of industrial materials such as glass, sheet metal, and plastic to create nonrepresentational, often geometric objects.

What interest, though, could someone who is only now in her early twenties have in the '80s electro-pop bands Depeche Mode and Erasure ERASURE, contracts, evidence. The obliteration of a writing; it will render it void or not under the same circumstances as an interlineation. (q.v.) Vide 5 Pet. S. C. R. 560; 11 Co. 88; 4 Cruise, Dig. 368; 13 Vin. Ab. 41; Fitzg. 207; 5 Bing. R. 183; 3 C. & P. 65; 2 Wend. R. 555; 11 Conn. , and why would she concern herself with the Moscow and LA Olympics of 1980 and '84, events she can hardly have been aware of at the time? Mckenzie is not trying to explore music and sport in themselves. She had the idea that each might provide her with an "empty category," a simple model of conflict and of structures of power that she could use to interrogate her own relationship to the legacies of history. After copying the official leotards of the Soviet gymnastics team, Mckenzie photographed herself and friends wearing the uniforms as if they were Natalia Shaposhnikova's teammates. Self-absorbed, the girls loll loll  
v. lolled, loll·ing, lolls

1. To move, stand, or recline in an indolent or relaxed manner.

, slump, or lie around, trying out attitudes and positions. We see--among a montage of images of the real athletes taken from magazines and newspapers--the girls testing what it means to them to be who they are as they reach adulthood. Likewise, while still in her te ens McKenzie had modeled in porn sessions for photographer and filmmaker Richard Kern. Thoroughly aware of the power relationships that exist between pornographer and model in such circumstances, she was able to treat this as a situation defined through a set of "cardboard cutout cut·out  
1. Something cut out or intended to be cut out from something else.

2. Electricity A device that interrupts, bypasses, or disconnects a circuit or circuit element.

 roles" that, once accepted, could be ignored in favor of a more equal and interested exchange between the two players. Sport is as ideologically loaded as anything else, of course, and porn is a bit more complicated than just getting naked and having your picture taken, but the motivation here is personal rather than sociological. The aim is to find where there might be the space to maneuver, to confront things as they are given, and to examine one's own desires and predilections. Most recently, in "Heavy Duty" at Edinburgh's Inverleith House, the second of her collaborative shows with Polish artist Paulina Olowska, Mckenzie has more or less literalized her acquisitive investigation into how a purposeful engagement with the world can be negotiated--by designing her own banknotes.

To make Party for the Masses, 2000, McKenzie appropriated a friend's failed abstract painting and reproduced over its blobby ground the text of a poster advertising a Depeche Mode event in Germany. Also concerned with music as a site of both cultural struggl and the articulation of individuality (in the mid-'90s Mckenzie played guitar in the Scottish indie band Ganger Gang´er

n. 1. One who oversees a gang of workmen.

Noun 1. ganger - the foreman of a work gang
boss, foreman, honcho, chief, gaffer - a person who exercises control over workers; "if you want to leave early you
), Ost Rock Test the West, 2000, superimposes its title on an abstract background in which a broad black swath runs diagonally across a modulated red field. McKenzie renders her text in Charles Rennie Mackintosh--style Art Nouveau lettering. The lower loops of each s are hugely exaggerated and hook around like monstrous noses sniffing the perfumed decay of the political and cultural landscape, while in the lower corners an arrangement of small squares imitates the tile patterns set into the concrete staircases of Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art Glasgow School of Art is one of four independent art schools in Scotland, situated in the Garnethill area of Glasgow. History
It was founded in 1845 as the Glasgow Government School of Design, one of the first Government Schools of Design.
. Though educated in Dundee, McKenzie, like Mackintosh, comes from Glasgow. The references are obvio us markers of personal identity, if ambivalent ones. The city is smothered smoth·er  
v. smoth·ered, smoth·er·ing, smoth·ers
a. To suffocate (another).

b. To deprive (a fire) of the oxygen necessary for combustion.

 in imitations of and allusions to the architect's work, and it was only after spending a period of time away from Scotland on a student exchange visit to Germany that Mckenzie was able to separate out from this "mockintosh" tourist-trash imagery something of the contribution that Mackintosh had made to the resources of modern art and design. His strong connections with continental modernism now find themselves refigured within Mckenzie's broader interest in recent German painting. The ironized politics of Albert Oehlen and the idiosyncratic id·i·o·syn·cra·sy  
n. pl. id·i·o·syn·cra·sies
1. A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.

2. A physiological or temperamental peculiarity.

 inventiveness of Kai Althoff's installations and music join Steven Campbell's freewheeling expressive imagery and Cosey Fanni Tutti's side career in porn--each just one more resource to be tapped. Mckenzie, whose curiosity about German culture recently led to a short stint in Berlin, points out, too, that the small dot Mackintosh placed under the letter o is as good as an upside-down umlaut.

Michael Archer is a London-based critic and writer.
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Publication:Artforum International
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 1, 2001
Previous Article:EATER'S DIGEST.
Next Article:"ZERO TO INFINITY: ARTE POVERA 1962-1972".

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