F Newsmagazine, SAIC (Chicago, IL)
Published in the May issue, 1997
By Annette Ferrara and Jennifer Liese

Walking into The School's Graduate MGFA show at Gallery 2 was like entering a giant art-supermarket. It had a distinctly American feel to it -- literally hundreds of choices awaited our hungry eyes. Feel like seeing some installation art? tenth floor, hang a left off the elevator. Painting? Would you like to see abstract of figurative? With or wirhout formal concerns? What about sculpture? Kinetic or readymade? Whew. Event he Whitney Biennial wasn't this ambitious. It was daunting experience for us, two budding art critics, to approach the work of 130 of our peers in this manner. So, recognizing the impossibility of seriously assessing everyone's work within this context, we decided to embark uupon a free-form conversational tour of the show. A hit-and-run review if you will. The results, obviously, are in no way scientific ('cause we're in art school), but are instead utterly and admittedly subjective. We have, however, tried to identify trends within the school at large, offer possible historical precendents for the works, share our deep and not so deep thoughts about individual pieces, and note when student work fit into the larger frmeworkof the contemporary art world. So hold onto your shopping carts, here we go.

Jennifer Liese: It's April 15. Let's see if we can relate every piece to the fact that it's tax day.

Annette Ferrara: Well, it is taxing to see the work of 130 artists all at once.

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3. Katherine Shaughnessy "Happily ever After", 1997

A: I think the 7th floor should be nominated as the "Space Floor." A futuristic silver sleeping tank, kind of like what you picture Michael Jackson would use. The label says, "Lay you body to rest and let yoru prince or princess come to you."

J: You wait in here and apparently your suitor's passion is measured by the "Passion Sensory Indicator." I'm putting my hand on it and the needle is... still. Uh-oh, what's broken me or the work?

A: The ultimate dating service. Millions of single Americans wish it were this easy.

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That's all folks. In case you have motion sickness from the whirlwind tour of the art-supermarket, we'd like to settle your stomachs with a little summary. Overall, the work was encouragingly subtle, evocative rather than blatant in its approach, and decidedly apolitical. Most of the work lacked the irony and smirkyness that has come to be expected of out twenty-something generation, instead it was replaced with a seriousness about art-making and its formal and conceptual problems and solutions. You wouldn't confuse SAIC artists with the CalArt students of the '70s who frolicked naked in swimming pools instead of working diligently in their studios. These artists are serious, mand, and they're (hopefully) coming to a gallery near you soon.


Copyright Ⓒ 1998-2018 Katherine Shaughnessy