Editorial : Recommendations
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"11 Most Dangerous Toys of 2011"
at SOIL art gallery, Seattle, Washington
Recommendation by Adriana Grant

Continuing through December 23, 2011

This exhibit pokes fun at the toy warnings that always seem to pop up in the news this time of year. There is sufficient aesthetic heft to make it worth the break from your gift shopping. Nothing here will require “Consumer Reports” to warn you not to put such “toys” under your tree. For a start, Mike Simi’s video, “Catnap,” depicts an electronic tabby cat, curled up and purring. Instead of evoking relaxation, the clicking, high-speed soundtrack compels viewers’ breathing to speed up to keep pace with the cat’s.

A traditional red rubber ball, crafted in porcelain by Rumi Koshino, bears the hatch-mark texture of a schoolyard ball. This is “(Don’t) Kick It,” which sits slumped, as if under-inflated, or waiting to cause harm. The simplest piece turns out to be the most striking. Ian Toms’ orbs, “Hard Object #21 and #22,” resemble baseballs covered in black electrical tape. On what is meant to look like a child safety web site print-out featuring this piece, the text reads “WARNING: Improvised Explosion Device: Use for controlled explosions only. Not for children under 3 years.” This show may be holiday themed, but there is a good dose of dark humor at work here.

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