Artforum Web 3-2004 Critc’s Picks

#1 Joseph Nechvatal


507 West 24th Street

February 21—March 27

The process of decay is also the process of life: Dust we are, unto dust we return, and so on. Here, Joseph Nechvatal's eight paintings–"computer robotic—assisted acrylic on canvas"–overwhelm the main gallery with their luxuriant sense of theoretical and psychological decomposition. "Ignudio"–as per the ignudo (singular) or ignudi (plural) of classical Italian painting–is Nechvatal's term for the nude form that's neither singular nor plural, masculine nor feminine. Through the computer hybridization of components of the male and female sexual anatomy, Nechvatal arrives at hermaphroditic abstractions weirdly in tune with the cultural white noise of the present moment. In attaining this "viractual" state (his word for something between the virtual and the actual), Nechvatal's work is simultaneously classical and futuristic–part anatomical rendering, part forensic voyeurism.

John Reed