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The Galleries

La Cienega Area

June 24, 1988|WILLIAM WILSON

New Yorker Ashley Bickerton materializes here with half a dozen big works that look like an esoteric Gotham intellectual's longing for an idyll in the islands. (Actually, Bickerton was born in Barbados.) He makes wall boxes the size of a small pool table, fronted with glass, hung with rolls of black leather, emblazoned with corporate logos and festooned with hardware and warning signs that suggest they might be full of radioactive electronic circuitry.

Works allude to esoteric art from Duchamp to Marcel Broodthaers and pieces come with the ironic motto, "The Best in Sensory and Intellectual Experience." They bristle awareness of still-fashionable art interest in such ivory-tower literary theory as semiotics and deconstruction but manage to do so in a light-footed, even lyric manner.

"Tormented Self-Portrait" is dominated by advertising logos for everything from Marlboro Lights to health-cult foods, suggesting that Bickerton is a mess of contradictions like the rest of us. It's hard to hate an art that funs at its own pretensions and brings out the cheery part of our corporate environment without ignoring its dangers. A couple of boxes bear artificial rocks and block-lettered prose poems about love on the beach and warm trade winds in the palms. There's a lot of Matisse in a guy who surrounds a square of AstroTurf with white tile and the word Jamaica four times.

In the immortal words of Leon Russell, sometimes you just gotta get back to the island. (Daniel Weinberg Gallery, 619 N. Almont Drive, to July 16.)

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