The Anti-Sequel

"Reduced" at the Arts and Culture Center is not big and bold. But it still has heft.

On the wall opposite is Wick's Nobody Said Life Was Fair, which consists of dozens of large, white, plaster hemispheres affixed directly to the museum wall. Their arrangement suggests the dot-based letters of the Braille alphabet, so I dutifully copied them down in hopes of translating them. But when I looked them up, only some of the dots appeared to correspond to the appropriate letters. I could make out nobody, life, and is, but then the correspondence seemed to break down, leading me to wonder if this is yet another example of Wick's warped sense of humor or if I'm just not very good at Braille translations. Either way, the joke works.

The third Wick work in the main gallery certainly confirms the artist's wicked wit. It's a mixed-media piece labeled W.W.J.D. and features a wooden sawhorse wrapped with a tangle of Christmas-tree lights of various sizes and colors, some flashing, others not lit, all connected to a timer that turns them on at 9 a.m. and off at 5 p.m. I later figured out that the letters in the title stand for "What Would Jesus Do?" The open-ended question, in this context, might apply to how Jesus might untangle the knotted strands of lights or how he might restore power to the burned-out bulbs... or any number of other possibilities.

Wick's final contribution to the show, Spirit of 2001, occupies the tiny first-floor elevator foyer. It's an endless video loop that pairs a blank, rolling, blue screen with an audio track of someone whistling the theme from Star Trek -- over and over and over. Heard from a distance, before I could figure out the tune, it was intriguing. Ultimately, however, it becomes irritating.

Wick's W.W.J.D.
Wick's W.W.J.D.
Winner: Spare statements from a sly jokester
Winner: Spare statements from a sly jokester

Details

On display through November 6. Call 954-921-3274.
Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood

After the mordant whimsy of Trombly and Wick, the momentum of "Reduced" wanes slightly in the long, narrow center gallery, in which only one work is displayed. It's called Shroud, by Scicluna, and is composed of a wall's worth of big pieces of translucent paper, covered with wax rubbings from bricks on the Art and Culture center's walkway. The bricks are etched with the names of people living and dead, as well as some arts organizations, so the shroud becomes a weird sort of memorial.

It helps to know that long before it became a museum, the Art and Culture Center was a funeral home. That bit of knowledge also informs Scicluna's other work here, a mixed-media wall sculpture called limbolimbo, which combines a coat hook from an embalming room, a cabinet door, and a Native American dreamcatcher.

The exhibition finale is Baldessari's black-and-white 1971 video I Am Making Art, in which the artist spends nearly 19 minutes making meaningless movements and gestures while endlessly, rapidly repeating the title words in a solemn monotone. Like the rest of "Reduced," this work transcends its potential pretentiousness by virtue of its deadpan attitude. Don't take this exhibition too seriously and maybe you'll have as much fun with it as I did.

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