Magazine article Artforum International

Miranda July: Tom Landowski Gallery

Magazine article Artforum International

Miranda July: Tom Landowski Gallery

Article excerpt

Miranda July, who came up through the Pacific Northwest punk-rock scene in the '90s, is best known for performance and video; "Go Yon Good Thing" is her first gallery exhibit of non-video art. The works in this show are photographs marked with office-supply orange-dot stickers and blown up so that their imperfections are made plain and large. You see dots on faded, out-of-focus images of unidentified figures, torn and foxed at the edges with tiny hairs and dust flecks caught in the adhesive. You sense a set of rules at work--certain objects are covered, certain spaces revealed, as if the artist had created visual aids for a lecture on a topic arcane but not entirely unfamiliar.

Rigorous yet slightly cuckoo systems applied to disorderly human things appear throughout July's work. In her film The Amateurist, 1998, and performance Love Diamond, 1998/2000, for example, characters deliver precise instructions for absurd activities interspersed with free-floating management and self-help jargon. In these seemingly inexplicable surveillance projects, July plays the part of both watcher and watched, instructor and receiver, with funny and usually discomfiting results. She deals in a kind of dim fear and inadvertent humor that (as in Kafka) stems from a shifting combination of the specific and the vague.

In the work on view here, this dualism is channeled into an animated tension between dot and image. The subjects of the photographs grab at what's behind the dots and cry because of what's going on beneath them. …

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