Friday, January 23, 2009

Gerard Byrne

My review of “Momentum 12: Gerard Byrne” at Boston’s ICA:
Dublin artist Gerard Byrne's new exhibit, part of the ICA's "Momentum" series, is a playful conceptual-art riff on the Loch Ness Monster mystery. The installation comprises a slide show, a grainy silent film, audio of a guy reading what seem to be accounts of sightings of Nessie, text summaries of "sightings" pasted to a wall, and a tree stump. But mostly it's black-and-white photos depicting a strange ripple on the lake, driftwood, a swimmer's arm breaking through the water — all things that might be mistaken for a monster if you were so inclined. It's fun, but really Nessie is meant to help Byrne's æsthetic questions go down. And these questions — how do we see? how do we trick ourselves into seeing things that might not be there? — are old hat.
“Momentum 12: Gerard Byrne,” Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave., Boston, Nov. 12, 2008, to March 1, 2009.


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