Capsule Reviews

Our critics survey the local art scene

Michael Smith Michael Smith's videos, installations and photographs break down many of the barriers of art while paradoxically remaining fully within its confines. Smith's installation "Famous Quotes From Art History" draws attention to "art" not only as a thing but also as an institution. Playing on art's role as a reinforcer of middle-class mores, the installation invites the viewer into the proverbial art lover's abode--replete with armchair, cozy rug and a poster of Matisse's "La Danse" hanging on the gallery wall. In the corner a short video loop shows a sardonic Smith reciting in dogged French quotes about the work of Matisse. "How to Curate Your Own Group Exhibition" (1996) is a tongue-in-cheek video starring Smith in the role of fixit-cum-business man pitching the recipe for artistic fame as a get-rich-quick scheme. While the messages may be subtle, the effect of Smith's work is not. It will make you laugh out loud in the otherwise silent and sacred halls. Through July 10 at Dunn and Brown Contemporary, 5020 Tracy St., 214-521-4322. Reviewed this week. (Charissa N. Terranova)

Cast: Photographs by Jin-Ya Huang In her photographs, Jin-Ya Huang turns fuzziness and blur into a visual vocabulary of the indecipherable. The illegibility of her images is by no means frustrating. The combined result of the artist's secret prop choices and photo-digital process, these images will keep you guessing while visually enthralled by their beauty. Is "Vortex" her pudenda or a flower? Is "Circuit" the vertebral column of a robot or miniature television sets on fire? Through July 10 at Mulcahy Modern, 408 W. Eighth St., 214-948-8595. Reviewed June 3. (C.T.)

Ellsworth Kelly in Dallas This show should be called "Dallas Collects Ellsworth Kelly." It would be more honest, not to mention more intriguing. This dainty collection of top-quality painting and sculpture by the mid-20th-century artist does little service to the importance of Kelly. Kelly's brightly colored and experimentally shaped opaque canvases are the bridge between the postwar angst of Abstract Expressionism and the in-the-world politics of the everyday in Pop art and Minimalism. Unfortunately, this intellectual nugget goes largely lost on the Dallas Museum of Art. Thankfully, the peculiar intellectual anemia of this show doesn't entirely detract from the work on display. Through August 22 at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St., 214-922-1200. Reviewed June 17. (C.T.)

 
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