Untreated Strangeness

New York

at Momenta Art


For Untreated Strangeness, writer Chris Kraus selects from the work of three artists (Los Angeles-based George Porcari, Cuban-born, Los Angeles-based Jorge Pardo, and Miami-based Naomi Fisher) to convey an air of disquieting tropical beauty that stems from a conflation of people and the sites they inhabit. Porcari’s contribution comprises 41color photographs, taken between 1979 and 2008 and capturing people in transit internationally: on the street, through bus windows, at bus stops, in airports, and on bicycles. Primarily shot in the daytime, the photographs evidence subtle differences in degrees and quality of light around the world. Many of the works are attractively nostalgic or outright dated because  they depict (fashion, restaurant menus, movie posters) don’t maintain contemporary standards. In Delivery Man at Times Square (1982), for example, a marquee advertises the movies E.T. and Rocky 3; others capture colorful messages advertising the prices of 12-packs, pizza, and cartons of cigarettes, sharing in the ubiquitous collision of people and the things people buy. Reflections in glass windows, telephone booths, and car windows relate the images of movie posters and figures alike with a detachment resulting from immersion in the urban throng.

Jorge Pardo’s sculptures, fabricated in 2009, are in fact tables for stacks of additional Porcari prints visitors are generously encouraged to handle and peruse. The stark white tables are elegant constructions assembled, free of hardware, from a form of highly compressed particle board that curve outward in ovoid and circular gestures like marshmallows. Fisher’s video loop Campo Primitivo (2009) features four female performers in a forest under a harsh Florida sun. To a crackling soundtrack of rhythmic noise the women bring their hands to their painted faces in a dance that evinces the allure of tropical unrestraint. It’s a passionate counterpoint to Porcari’s urban panoramas which at times connote an abridgement of freedom.

Visitors are encouraged to take away a photograph from a stack of 3 x 5 prints of various images in the show, processed at Walgreen’s the day of the opening, and pick up an exhibition catalogue that provides more background on Porcari and his process. Its table of contents lists texts by Chris Kraus, Mark von Schlegell, Sylvere Lotringer, and Veronica Gonzalez.