Paul Chan | Renaissance Society | Galleries | Chicago Reader

Paul Chan All Ages Closing (Theater and Galleries) Free

When: 2009

Ever since his diagram of the Art Institute hierarchy ran in the school's student newspaper in 1996, Paul Chan's made a career of probing the undergirdings of power. In "My Laws Are My Whores," now at the Renaissance Society, a collection of Chan's works connects the lascivious experiments of the Marquis de Sade to the judicial and moral law he purported to annihilate. High overhead hang drawings of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices. One wall of the gallery features large framed ink drawings of text fonts, designed by Chan and inspired by the writings of de Sade (available for download at A monitor lying face up on the floor screens an episode of Law & Order, the dialogue replaced by incoherent, pornographic subtitles printed with the fonts. Other lurid yet sterile artifacts include a computer keyboard with tombstone-shaped keys, a blurry animation that alternates suggestive silhouettes with floating squares, and a drawing titled Ted Haggard, John Edwards, and Eliot Spitzer Are in a Bar. Like America (The Book), by Jon Stewart and The Daily Show writers, Chan peeks beneath the black robes to view the mechanisms of civilization. And like Saint Paul, he affirms that one can't know sin without the law. --Bert Stabler

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