Internally Displaced | Columbia College Chicago, Averill and Bernard Leviton A+D Gallery | Galleries | Chicago Reader

Internally Displaced Recommended Free All Ages Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: 2009

It's the grotesque, more often than not, that makes postmodern bricolage work. That may be one reason why Jane Hammond's My Heavens!--a bunch of anodyne, colored cutouts of random figures (a house, acrobats, a hummingbird) arranged to resemble the zodiac--comes off as pointless. Part of "Internally Displaced," the Leviton A + D Gallery show pairing Hammond and Enrique Chagoya, Hammond's piece is glib and precious when it should be so wrong it's right. Her Mexican Postcards, on the other hand, are more like it: collaging comic-book images atop tropical postcards, she creates mini dioramas in which Archie cavorts amid uber-sexualized pulp sleaze and a toucan ravishes a willing wench as she cries, "Oh! Que Lastima!" Enrique Chagoya's work is better yet. "A Caza de Dientes (Out Hunting for Teeth)," from his Return to Goya's Caprichos series, shows Snow White with her hand shoved in the mouth of a hideously deformed figure that may be a cross between Mickey Mouse and Ratfink. Another in the same series, "Se Repulen (They Spruce Themselves Up)" shows Jesse Helms cutting Jerry Falwell's talons while sitting in front of a weird, twisted bat thing. Off in the corner is a tiny Teletubby, its detailed, chiaroscuro face looking positively demonic. As Chagoya understands, where our ancestors turned to folklore and myth for horror, we substitute pop detritus--a cluttered void we stare into when we want to feel pleasurably alienated from our culture and ourselves. --Noah Berlatsky


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