Magazine article Artforum International

The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art. (Reviews)

Magazine article Artforum International

The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art. (Reviews)

Article excerpt

"FAMILY"

Families are the stuff of great stories, both fictional and real, from Lear and the Sopranos to the Hapsburgs and Kennedys. We are all experts on the subject, whether our expertise lies in trying to escape family--with its dynamics of guilt, manipulation, and other dysfunctions--or working to create or re-create one. Group shows are yet another kind of familial collective, and the Aldrich Museum (a former house, appropriately enough) took on this unwieldy matter in "Family," bringing together a clan of thirty-seven artists who have made works that consider the institution in its many mutable forms: tribal, professional, religious, racial, alternative, and old-fashioned nuclear.

Offspring was a preoccupation in the exhibition. Tapping reproductive anxieties (and pushing the envelope of good taste) was Chrissy Caviar, 2001-2002. For this Bad Girl art in the age of in vitro piece, artist Chrissy Conant harvested twelve of her eggs and sealed them in small vials. The containers were then packaged into jars with labels announcing their weight and ingredients alongside an image of the artist in sexy attire. Presented as a delicacy available in limited quantity for consumption only by those who can afford it, the piece jabbed at both the egg-selling racket and the art market. Similarly provocative, video artist Maria Marshall, who often uses her children as subjects (a much discussed 1999 digitally manipulated image by the artist shows her two-year-old son taking a drag from a cigarette), opened afresh the old Sally Mann debate about objectifying young bodies and emotions. President Bill Clinton, Memphis, Tennessee, November 13, 1993, 2000, depicts one of Marshall's boys reading a speech b y the former president espousing loving parental structures. His too-young voice highlights the artificiality of the words. …

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