Chris Lipomi: Daniel Hug Gallery.
In a series of mostly black-and-white canvases, Lipomi used a Warholian combination of silk screen and synthetic polymer paint to reproduce a pyramidal diagram sourced from a Thomas Kinkade gallery. It had apparently been designed to help Kinkade's sales force distinguish between the various levels of authenticity--from original paintings to prints anointed with precious daubs of the master's brush to entirely mechanical reproductions--in the Painter of Light's sappy, populist canvases. By conflating the cool detachment of Warhol's production line with Kinkade's corporate schema, Lipomi's deliberately repetitive canvases highlighted the mythical reach of the proverbial "artist's hand," and revealed his interest in adopting various artistic scales of production. By implicating himself in the pyramidal scheme, Lipomi, tautologically, adopted the persona of the artist and positioned artmaking as self-aware performance.
Lipomi enters into a different economy with his frequent use of found objects. Here, one wall of the gallery was covered with seventeen masks incorporating a range of readymade, subtly altered, and combined materials. In the strongest of these, Tek-ic, 2005, an enormous conch shell given two eyeholes is mounted on a hickory place-mat atop an Yves Saint Laurent scarf with a decidedly modern pattern reminiscent of tribal motifs. Thus his relationship to a genealogy of artist recyclers--from Picasso to local legends George Herms and Ed Kienholz and, more recently, Mike Kelley--is evidenced through witty, disarming shorthand. Without either cynicism or naivete, Lipomi employed the modernist strategy of appropriating from "primitive" sources while subtly shifting attention to the concept of invention as a performative act.
From the ceiling Lipomi hung a thicket of over one hundred sculptures that incorporate found and altered objects, including wooden and ceramic dinnerware; rattan and metal furniture parts; an easel adorned with a beret; a rolled up issue of Artforum from Summer 1975 (the issue on newsstands when the artist was born); several varieties of wine racks; an orange and brown pillowcase stuffed with leftovers from the installation; a wrought iron, fabric, and chrome moderne desk lamp; rusty shackles; a tiny Christmas tree; a birdcage; a container of Ricola cough drops; and innumerable seashells, woven baskets, beads, and real and artificial plants. Lipomi thus left himself wide open to accusations of overreaching or overinclusiveness, and his emphasis on production as a performance would have failed were it not for the sheer energy and inventiveness of his combinations. In lesser hands, flotsam would remain flotsam; here, trash frequently became treasure.
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|Title Annotation:||contemporary art exhibition|
|Author:||Holte, Michael Ned|
|Date:||May 1, 2006|
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