Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Kate Clark

Kate Clark: Perfect Strangers
Nov 20th, 2008 to Jan 3rd, 2009

Claire Oliver Gallery

513 West 26th Street, New York, NY

I  went to this Kate Clark exhibit hoping I would like it in the flesh (pardon the pun) more than I did in the photos. I tend to like art that uses animal imagery and I’m oddly fascinated by the taxidermized specimens at the American Museum of Natural History. In the end, I found Clark’s sculptures to have the curious draw of a circus sideshow without rising to the level of art. Perhaps the anthropomorphism is too literal -- yes, we are all just animals. Certainly they are disarming for a moment but, surprisingly, the effect of a human face grafted onto the animal body does not seem to ennoble ether species. They are neither wild nor intelligent...mainly just a little sad.

Normally I don't bother posting about a show I don’t like. But I really wanted to get more out of these than I did. Maybe there’s someone out there that will respond better than I did....


Unknown said...

I am not sure I like it. The suture look of all the pins in the faces is quite distracting and takes away from the "naturalness" of the things.

Like you I think I would rather go to see a good taxidermy display or a natural history museum.

........I miss Circus and County Fair Sideshows.......those were so much more fun then the whole Mid-way stuff......

Thanks for posting these Irene, I never would have heard of this.


mordicai said...

I tend to be immediately distrustful of art with an immediate "message" or "moral." That being said, they are-- like you've said-- momentarily pleasing, in a Room-of-Jar-Babies sort of fashion.

mordicai said...

Follow-up, did you/have you seen the Banksy "Pet Store & Grill" thing in Greenwich Village? Or Lisa Black's cyborg taxidermy?

Jeff Doten said...

They're rather hideous, and I've never understood hideous art.

Lana Gramlich said...

Disturbing, at best. Certainly not images I'd want to see more than once. *shudder*

Jack Ruttan said...

Yeah, looking at this kind of thing, I can't separate the thought of the agony of the animal dying from the art made from its remains.

Of course, I was brought up with furs, and traditional taxidermy, so there's a contradiction, I'll admit.

In my art career, I had to turn down an offer to be body cast by a taxidermy-based artist, and morphed into something like this.

But it might have been slightly interesting in a morbid way, like seeing yourself "killed" messily in a special effects movie.

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