By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
By Kyle Swenson
By David Villano
By Kyle Swenson
By John Thomason
By Michele Eve
Based on the works included in "Nepotism," Duval-Carrié's sensibility is characterized by a healthy eclecticism, and he has a good eye for placement. He eases visitors into the show with Angel Maker, a spiky lead sculpture by John la Huis near the entrance to the museum, and Maritza Molina's Conquering Space, a roughly five-minute video shown on a large screen in the lobby.
They're followed by a bracing trio: the shifting music and imagery of Lionel Saint Pierre's video Vision Test, played on a wall-mounted flat-screen monitor; Carolina Sardi's sculpture Rising Line, a thin steel obelisk that's 20 or so feet tall; and the delicate installation Larrabee's Echo, by Karen Rifas, which consists of small dried leaves attached to thin strings hanging from the underside of the museum's grand staircase.
Other than Duval-Carrié's taste, there's not much rhyme or reason evident in the flow of the show. I suspect, for instance, that the artist-curator displayed three huge pieces -- an oil portrait by Damian Sarno, an acrylic collage by Carlos de Villasante, and a mixed-media work by Sergio Garcia -- side by side simply because they're all the same size and shape and look good together. And he's right: The juxtaposition is an apt one, and it also plays nicely off the adjacent wall's grouping of four medium-sized abstracts by Jose Alvarez, who overlaps big, earthy-colored slabs of mineral crystals and resin on wooden panels.
Among Duval-Carrié's other winners: Light Made Visible, Bhakti Baxter's string-and-nail construction that forms a sort of minimalist mandala; the explicitly political Betraying the Youth, in which Macuria Monolanez connects three massive wooden doors with hinges, paints screaming figures onto their fronts, and affixes photographs and paperwork relating to the juvenile justice system onto the back sides of the doors; and the vaguely unnerving Dresden Tongue, by an artist identified only as Miralda, who wall-mounts seven large, molded-plastic tongues of various colors and lights them from within. And for sheer textural appeal, it's hard to match Glexis Novoa's Endurance City, a pair of roughly three-foot-square marble panels with a sort of alien cityscape rendered in graphite.
You'd be hard-pressed to uncover any sort of artistic agenda in "Nepotism," which is exactly the point. While it might be nice to have a bit of biographical information about the artists Duval-Carrié included, it's also a relief not to have to wade through some creaky aesthetic justifications for his choices. A show like this invariably includes both hits and misses -- so what? I hope Irvin Lippman makes the Artist-in-Residence program a tradition that he and the Museum of Art can justifiably embrace with pride.