Continuing through September 3, 2011
The Scottish artist Jim Lambie practices Pop shamanism. Using disco bags covered in shards of broken mirrors and the album jackets of old LPs, he is the doctor of the golden era of cool, the 1970s and 1980s, when nostalgia still had a temporal footing and before technology had transformed all into the perpetual now. A poster of George Michael covered in the roses cut from another painting, brightly painted parts of wooden chairs, the collaged eyes of models, and Lambie’s signature, vibrantly colored lines of tape on the floor. These are the diverse means by which a wily and attuned artist conjures the spirits of Pop – those hallowed specters of Liz and Michael.
This exhibition marks the second showing of Lambie’s work in Dallas, the first having been a large-scale installation in 2005 at the Dallas Museum of Art under the tutelage of then Associate Curator of Contemporary Art Suzanne Weaver. Then as now, the showpiece of the exhibition is “Zobop,” a temporary, site-specific installation of colored tape on the floor of the gallery. Unlike the showing six years ago at the DMA, which boasted five colors of tape in primary colors, this installation bears fluorescent and metallic colored tape in addition to primaries, hence the slightly different moniker, “Zobop Flouro.” The potential power of Lambie’s “Zobop” is its creation of new spaces in already existing spaces. The effect is a charged ambience, and an enhancement of architectural details. Unfortunately, within the sterile gallery space that is a given here any heightened architectural wonderment by way of banal colored tape gets lost.
The individual works by Lambie are left to play together in the white-box space. There are two stellar works in the front gallery space, both titled “Sonic Reducer,” which interact particularly well against the color and movement of “Zobop Fluoro.” Suggestive of sound speakers, they are concrete blocks shaped like cubes with an edge lopped off. They are stood on that edge as though midway through a tumble along the floor. They appear almost to dance. Lambie embedded album covers in them. Ranging from Billy Joel’s “An Innocent Man” to Holst’s “The Planets,” the album jackets suggest a great breadth and elasticity of this Pop shaman’s knowledge and taste in music. Sitting lopsided against the bright lines of the “Zobop Fluoro,” they also add up to an unstable balance that is equal parts funhouse, discotheque, and drug-induced.