Wiped Out – Best in Show

Independent curator Donna Harkavy and legendary East Village gallerist Gracie Mansion have brought together 40-plus works exploring transience and transformation. First comes a picture of Nixon secretary Rosemary Woods, in a 1873 issue of “Time” magazine, re-enacting her “accidental” erasure of a Watergate tape. A nearby color video documents Oscar Munoz’s attempts to paint his self portrait in water on a hot stone, his visage endlessly dissipating before its completion. Ann Hamilton uses saliva, Pink Pearl erasers, and grinding labor to eradicate the complete texts of five books, leaving the gutters between pages clogged with scraggly gray crumbs of rubber. Robin Clark employs a similar strategy of negation, but his careful and selective scraping of pigment from American Currency creates such phrases as “I am God” with only flourishes of decorative borders intact. Tiny test tubes filled with infinitesimal flecks of printer’s ink flank each greenback, creating fascinating case studies in commerce: Clark has destroyed the original purpose of these paper rectangles and pushed them into a realm more conceptual and ethereal than any creative impulse – the art market. Now only God (and perhaps Sotheby’s) will know their value.

  • R.C. Baker
  • The Village Voice
  • December 14, 2006