A Delicate Balance at Caren Golden Gallery


Careful with the kids at this one—not because of any untoward subject matter, but due to that “you break it, you bought it” rule. Curator Shane McAdams has gathered together sculptures that offer insightful content and precarious formal equipoise, such as the stacked plates and carefully interlocked coffee cups that make up Ron Baron’s End of an Error (2008). Supported on a base of four human skulls, this ersatz Trajan’s column is topped by a George W. Bush souvenir mug and a tiny globe, but unlike the Roman emperor’s monument to imperial conquest, this flea-market memorial commemorates presidential incompetence. Things get even dicier in the rear gallery, where Alejandro Almanza Pereda has constructed tetrahedrons out of bowling balls and delicately angled fluorescent tubes; perched atop these glowing pyramids, the solid orbs could be blind versions of the greenback’s all-seeing “Eye of Providence.” There are some snappy drawings and collages, but William Lamson’s videos most fully realize the show’s theme of stress and liberation. If Hemingway had made hi-def shorts, he might have come up with the 68-second Duel (2008), in which two young men stand back-to-back on a broad, snowy plain, each holding four black balloons and a handgun. They step off half a dozen paces, spin around, release the balloons, and track their weapons skyward. One protagonist is a crack shot, and the charcoal dust that filled his opponent’s clutch of balloons gently drifts down through the azure sky as the other flock escapes from the top of the frame. Less macho but more poignant are the brightly colored helium balloons of Emerge (2007), which burst from a fog-shrouded lake, momentarily rest on the surface as water drips off their skins, then meander slowly heavenward.

Mondays-Fridays, 11 a.m. Starts: July 16. Continues through Aug. 8, 2008