One section in the exhibition "Social Distortion" is clearly not for children. The rest is clearly not for grown-ups. This appropriately limits the show's audience to stereotypic adolescents traditionally obsessed with justice, sex, violence, rebellion, conformity and virtuosity.
The show, at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (to July 26), includes the slick spawn of six image-makers better known as illustrators than fine artists. Not Norman Rockwell-style makers of Post covers; more like the wacko adepts of Underground Comix or acid-rock record jackets. Everybody is out to provoke paroxysms of righteous indignation, pander to our lustful appetites, tweak the old moral conscience and inspire a standing ovation. In short, like all good illustrators, these folks are out to deliver a little harmless entertainment.
Georganne Deen and Greg Metz collaborated to produce "Dr. Caligari's Ark," a sculpture the size and general style of a Mardi Gras float. With "SS Vivisector" stenciled on its prow, the sculpture is a Noah's Ark loaded with cartoony animals undergoing perfectly ghastly torture in the name of scientific research. It is so awful that one is momentarily converted to the notion that we must never give another rat another shot in the name of such an insignificant goal as curing cancer. When the grotesque exaggeration of this nightmare menagerie gets to you, the whole aesthetic argument seems hysterical and flaky. One dismisses the matter in good conscience.