Packard Jennings: Catherine Clark Gallery
Helfand, Glen, Artforum International
In his recent solo exhibition at Catherine Clark Gallery, prankster interventionist Packard Jennings hurled small stones at mighty, if easy, targets--the corporation and the church. Jennings's interactive projects restage the David and Goliath narrative in our late, late capitalist moment, imagining ways in which the little guy might finally do away with his accursed office cubicle.
The show's centerpiece, a multipart work titled Business Reply, 2006, takes aim at companies who target consumers with avalanches of direct mail. In the show's announcement, Jennings asked gallerygoers to collect postage-paid reply envelopes from credit card solicitations and bring them to the gallery. There, in an installation called Business Reply (Office Installation), 2006--a space accented with "1970s orange" walls and a hanging pot of artificial plants--he placed a wood-veneered receptacle in which these were collected, with the aim of later sending the offending companies Packard's jaunty antibusiness propaganda on their own dime. On the "office" walls were framed working drawings for and pigment prints of such material: comic strip-style primers on the destruction of office culture, culminating in the repurposing of office towers as tribal dwellings.
Packard's color-saturated format conflates the international language of airplane safety guides, Jack T. Chick's illustrated religious tracts, and air-dropped government propaganda. Business Reply Pamphlet (Panel Two), 2006, for example, is a two-step guide to toppling a desk--large arrows emphasize the pleasure of the upheaval. Business Reply Pamphlet (Panel Fourteen), 2006, depicts a men's room transformed into a community garden, with tomatoes, sunflowers, and corn potted in the urinals. …