Chronicle Review, June 8, 2012
Pastine annexes Artforum: The work of San Francisco
artist Francesca Pastine has a unique currency. She has rooted it in the
fact that almost everyone in the art world takes some note of the art
press, but few actually read it. Blame bad writing, a rising tide of
post-literacy or blog fatigue, but that's how things stand.
Artforum - a New York publication founded in San Francisco in the
early '60s - once did figure, in simpler times, as the house organ of
the art world.
But then the art market and criticism and communications technology
went global, and New York and Artforum lost their centrality - except as
Pastine treats the Artforum brand - physically - as grist for
amazing constructions, or deconstructions, of paper instantly
recognizable as her handiwork.
She frequently cuts into issues of the magazine, treating its
colorful, advertising-choked pages as geological strata. In the long
vertical "Artforum #35 Collaboration With Bruce Nauman (Pour Series)"
(2012), blob-like cutouts cascade down through several vertically
arrayed September 2007 issues of the magazine, finally drooping beneath
the bottom one.
From the physical comedy of Pastine's work, and its ancestry in the
de-collage of artists such as Raymond Hains and Mimmo Rotella, emerges a
nightmare of visual culture deliquescing into a mercurial substance
whose true name may be celebrity or profitability.
Francesca Pastine: Unsolicited: Paper works. Through July 7. Eleanor Harwood Gallery, 1295 Alabama St., S.F. (415) 867-7770. www.eleanor harwood.com.