Watery, Domestic

Nov. 17, 2002 - Dec. 22, 2002

The Renaissance Society, Chicago, IL

Group Exhibition (curated by Hamza Walker)-"Forget Irony... Have A Nice Decade." That headline appeared on the cover of the September 1991 issue of Esquire. Unfortunately, it reads as all too ironic given that the September 11th attacks took place exactly a decade later not to mention that throughout the 1990s irony was anything but forgotten. As if Wayne's World was enough, NOT!, many took irony as a definitive characteristic of the present moment to the extent that Graydon Carter, publisher of Vanity Fair, declared the September 11th attacks "an end to the Age of Irony." Broadly defined as a discrepancy between what is expressed and what is meant, irony is inherent to the act of signification, making it anything but unique to a given era. Having made a pronouncement no different than sentiments expressed after two World Wars, Carter can count himself quite far down on the list of individuals who have wished for civilization's delivery into an epoch of truth and moral clarity. The species of irony to which Carter refers, however, is no longer discernible from a nostalgic impulse. Although we are a full generation and a half removed from the Nixon administration, those years still serve to remind us of the degree to which great expectations have been blunted by disappointments or circumscribed by the fatigue of unfulfilled aspirations. No wonder the rock band Pavement adopted a mantra of negative hope -- "don't expect, don't expect, don't expect" -- as the end refrain on the recording from which watery, domestic takes its title.

Works Shown

Every Shot, Every Episode

2001, installation with electronic sculpture

The source material for this work is a collection of 10,000 shots from Starsky & Hutch. Each episode is broken down into a series of individual shots. The artists have assigned key words to each shot: every plaid, every sexy outfit, every yellow Volkswagen, etc. There are 278 categories in total. Each category is archived on an individual video CD which is labelled in clear, bold lettering and installed in the gallery on a shelf. Video CDs are chosen by the gallery visitor and played via the built-in video screen.