"How Do I Look?"
moniquemeloche, through Jul 29.
At one point or another, it seems every artist becomes fascinated with his or her own image, an inevitability explored in this group show.
In her large-scale photograph Las Bebidas, Carrie Schneider seduces observers with a self-portrait inspired by Velázquez’s famous Las Meninas (1656). She stares back at the viewer while sitting in a ruby-red restaurant booth, dressed in black and smoking a cigarette. Her look is intentional, referencing women in art as far back as Manet’s Olympia (1862), notable for depicting a woman looking straight at the viewer. Schneider’s confident stare mirrors Velázquez’s own gaze; a man reflected in a mirror on the wall behind her parallels the king and queen in Velázquez’s original. By crafting a stunning photograph that is both homage and self-portrait, Schneider demonstrates a keen understanding of art history and her status as an important, emerging female artist.
In Feelin’ Free, Shana Moulton plays “Cynthia,” an estranged office drone with carpal tunnel syndrome and a giant neck brace, who journeys into a Magic Eye poster and starts jamming to lo-tech beats (by Paper Rad’s Jacob Ciocci) with a computer animation–generated flamingo, lion, T. rex, unicorn, coyote and Angela Lansbury. Although the video is eerily similar to Paper Rad’s GIF-heavy, ’80s nostalgia animations, it’s still hilarious.
In Rashid Johnson’s crisp black-and-white photograph Self-portrait lying on Jack Johnson’s Grave, the artist drapes himself over the first African-American heavyweight champion’s tombstone, aligning himself with others who came out on top despite all odds. Like the other young artists represented in this impressive collection of work, Johnson opts for a reflective angle in search of his cultural roots and place in the art-history canon.—Alicia Eler