Tue
Nov 25 2008 3:40pm

Kate Clark

Kate Clark

Kate Clark: Perfect Strangers
Claire Oliver Gallery: NY, NY

I’m posting these here in hopes that someone likes them more than I did. I don't mean that to come across as snarky as it seems—I really wanted to like this exhibit. I tend to enjoy art that uses animal imagery and I’m oddly fascinatKate Clarked by the taxidermized specimens at the American Museum of Natural History. But, in the end, I found Clark’s sculptures to have the curious draw of a circus sideshow without rising to the level of art. Perhaps the anthropomorphism is too literal—yes, we are all just animals. Certainly they are disarming for a moment but, surprisingly, the effect of a human face grafted onto the animal body does not seem to ennoble either species. They are neither wild nor intelligent...mainly just a little sad.

Normally I don’t bother posting about a show I don’t like but, genetic experiment gone wrong, shape-shifting tricksters....there’s something about “science fiction, fantasy, and related subjects” here...

2 comments
Gabe Carr
1. Okorikuma
I totally agree with your take, especially about the too-literal anthropomorphism. If her point was to illustrate human-animal kinship, I for one would rather see animals' actual faces, but altered or manipulated in some way so that they showed recognizable emotional expression (which it's not such a stretch to say live animals do anyway, but it could be accentuated in sculpture).

Aesthetically, the black bear was a definite low point.
Tara Chang
2. tlchang
It feels a bit like the Marlon Brando "Island of Dr. Moreau" - which on the surface ought to have been really interesting, but ended up mostly inane and disturbing - for all the wrong reasons.

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