A chandelier festooned with pills and hundreds of glittering syringes hangs at eye level; tiny crystals impaled on the exposed needles are as radiant as drops of nectar. This bedazzling bauble, Space Station (2008), perhaps promises escape to a higher plane through chemically altered consciousness (or maybe it’s a metaphor for our health-care crisis). Andy Diaz Hope and Laurel Roth’s collaboration tickles myriad synapses—some viewers might flash on Fred Tomaselli’s 1999 mural Gravity’s Rainbow, with its garlands of pharmaceuticals suspended in thick resin. And indeed, there’s a Pynchonesque breadth to Hope and Roth’s themes of evolution, chemistry, death, and regeneration—here are panty shields embroidered with the names of both fertility and contraceptive drugs, a baby crib sporting a playful mobile of the Ritalin molecule (which rotates to the strains of “What a Wonderful World”), and a mosaic of gel capsules depicting an apocalyptic video game. Especially disturbing are the skulls of over-bred pets such as the Pekinese and Great Dane, exquisitely carved from walnut and crystal, and mannequins of pigeons that have been fitted with the crocheted plumage of birds—ivory-billed woodpecker, dodo—exterminated by man’s incursions. Humanity has short-circuited evolution, this duo informs us, and what we have to show for it are ersatz fowls decked out like Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Thu., Nov. 6, noon; Fri., Nov. 7, noon; Sat., Nov. 8, noon, 2008
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 5, 2008