Reviewed: “Corridor” at the Art Museum of the Americas
In “Corridor,” the Art Museum of the Americas largely eschews a hemispheric perspective in favor of a much closer-to-home approach, showcasing a dozen artists with ties to either Baltimore or Washington. Their works range widely, from computer-generated video to room-sized installations to beaded sculptures to eccentric methods of photography. Michael Platt’s images, hung from large sheets of polyester mesh, verge on Koyaanisqatsi themes, melding human figures with an overbearing rush of modernity, each swaying ever-so-gently in the breeze. Soledad Salamé offers a matrix of images from the 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill in which the landscape dissolves, chaotically but inexorably, into increasingly static-filled facsimiles. Bernhard Hildebrandt draws clever linkages between TSA scanner images of human bodies and fine art of the past, including Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man and Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion. Susana Raab, who’s half Peruvian, offers straightforward documentary photographs of kids and families at the beach in Peru, while Jeff Spaulding builds a sprawling junk sculpture with a unified, rubbery-black hue that is supposed to reference Theodore Gericault’s 19th century romantic painting Raft of the Medusa.
But the standouts are two photographers—Sofia Silva and Phil Nesmith. Silva presents distinctly horizontal, washed-out images of deserted big-box store exteriors reminiscent of Oliver Boberg’s scale models; only a nighttime image of a bank drive-thru lane, with its repeating pattern of bollards and its suggestions of Edward Hopper and Ed Ruscha, comes across as something more than utilitarian and soulless. Nesmith, meanwhile, uses a homemade, cameraless technique to create tableaux in which insects hover around, and within, everyday objects such as bell jars and light bulbs. The protagonists in his brown-toned, varnished works suggest flight, but their flight is in fact fraudulent, a casualty of the requirements of Nesmith’s own darkroom technique, leaving viewers to ponder an intricate, Heisenbergian joke.
The exhibit is on view 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday to June 26 at the Art Museum of the Americas, 201 18th St. NW. Free. (202) 458-6016.