Author: Janine Gordon --- Date: 10/27/95--- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC

Carroll Dunham and Lari Pittman
Jay Gorney Modern Art
100 Greene St.
September 16-October 14

The thrusting together of Dunham and Pittman in a two person painting show scripts a hyper-sexualized plot. Pittman's hermaphrodite pixie-elf motif (designed to look like it was created in the 1950's) performs oral and anal intercourse throughout his new series of paintings. Dunham's subliminal (humph) "box paintings" (Green Box and Different Boxes) punningly juxtapose Pittman's and create a kind of psycho-sexual cartoon land. It's not that the works' mere appearances are solely fastened on the 'disguised' sexual humor but similarly flavored with juicy colors. Pittman slightly alters his usual palette of glittery, pumped up tertiary tones, to a more muted, smoke-like interpretation of khakis and assorted other putrid blends, while Dunham perpetuates his usual "bold is better" palette.

I don't think anyone who knows anything about slang is unfamiliar with the derogatory connotations that "box" implies. For those of you who are in the dark it is a low class reading of vagina. Dunham paints boxes speaking with genitalia lips. Goofy as they are in content and form, there is an underlying cynicism in the overall project Dunham has realized. His familiar style and subject matter have reached the level of the mundane. But, maybe that is what painters should be doing anyway. Whatever turns you on (or off).

Pittman flaunts his esoteric baroque taste for commodified Americana in two dimensions. From ultra-violence (boxing gloves, helicopters amidst buildings via Die Hard) to kitsch sex paraphernalia to clip art, Pittman's paintings scan his version of the American landscape in his multi-layered collection of seductive icons (seductivity according to Larry). As far as representational painting goes these days, the presentation of both of these painters, furnished by Gorney is ultimately about taste and the buds one ought to acquire when digesting these works.

--Janine Gordon

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