Surreal Killer

The work of lowbrow luminary Todd Schorr simultaneously savages and celebrates pop culture

Take the monumental canvas The Hydra of Madison Avenue (2001), for example. This busy composition includes so many icons from the world of advertising that it's easy to get distracted by trying to identify them: the Green Giant, Mr. Clean, Colonel Sanders, Buster Brown and Tige, Aunt Jemima, Captain Crunch, to name just a few of the dozens and dozens that populate the picture.

Step back for a moment, however, and you'll realize that Schorr may be celebrating this cornucopia of advertising imagery, but he's also criticizing it. The painting's overabundance is an observation of how saturated with meaningless content our pop culture has become.

As he describes himself in his artist's statement, Schorr is "a human being attempting to communicate ideas through pictures. I have chosen to work in a very specific narrative fashion that I feel carries its message clearly through images I have carefully depicted on a flat surface using paint and brushes and imagination." What's so lowbrow about that?

Schorr deconstructs Wimpy in Burger Deluxe (1997)
Schorr deconstructs Wimpy in Burger Deluxe (1997)


On display through February 17.

"Reva Freedman: One Woman Show" is on display through February 3. Call 954-921-3274.

Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood

After the exhilarating imagery and technical accomplishments of Schorr's work, it's something of a letdown to venture upstairs at the Art and Culture Center to take in "Reva Freedman: One Woman Show." The exhibition includes 50 mixed-media pieces by the Aventura-based artist, who was a classically trained violinist and retired psychologist when she turned to art three decades ago.

The posted introduction to the show attempts to link Freedman to art brut ("raw art"), the term French artist Jean Dubuffet coined in 1945 to characterize the work of children, mental patients, and naïve artists. That's a stretch. There's a depressing sameness to these paintings, most of which, appropriately enough, are untitled -- they don't seem to be about much of anything except glorified doodling. On the other hand, there's nothing in this show even remotely likely to offend.

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