From my review of “Cal Lane: Sweet Crude” at Judi Rotenberg Gallery:
Beauty is back.Read the rest here.
Twentieth-century Modernism’s main line wound up in a final march toward Minimalist and Conceptualist asceticism. But by the 1990s, the art world was buzzing with talk of a return to beauty. It was mainly a reserved Minimalist beauty — think Félix González-Torres. But now we’ve got lush, bubbly, decorative, rapturous beauty.
You can see it in Ranjani Shettar’s bubbly hoops dangling from the Institute of Contemporary Art’s ceiling. Or in Mary O’Malley’s drawn fantasias of birds and flowers and cascading dots that look something like jellyfish. Or in the work of Boston graffiti artist Pixnit, whose stenciled spraypainted mural of a chaise longue, birdcages, and chandelier was on view at Judi Rotenberg Gallery last month. Or in Cal Lane’s current show at the Rotenberg, which gets its oomph from one majorly neat trick: she uses a blowtorch-like-thing to slice I-beams and oil drums and shovels into lacy designs. The upstate New Yorker has called them “industrial doilies.” It’s beauty for beauty’s sake.
“Cal Lane: Sweet Crude,” Judi Rotenberg Gallery, 130 Newbury St., Boston, June 5 to July 6, 2008.
Pictured from top to bottom: Cal Lane, installation view of “I-Beams” and “Wheeelbarrow”; "Wheelbarrow”; "Untitled, American Map”; and "The Pug and the Proposition.”