vertexlist blog is an online extension of vertexList gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The content is a collective effort of artists and curators working with vertexList. (

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Micro-review: The Gravity of Source Material

Appropriating the “And babies?” poster, as a component to another artwork, is hard to get away with. The iconic poster, designed by the Art Worker’s Coalition, is a simple, but profound juxtaposition of two historic sources: a photograph of dead bodies on the road after the My Lai massacre and four words from the 1969 “60 Minutes” interview with Paul Meadlo. As part of another artwork, the image is such a historic heavyweight that it threatens to appropriate the surrounding materials for itself. Matthew Day Jackson juggles this weight with another less historic image in his work And babies? And babies, one of eleven works on view at his Nicole Klagsbrun show Drawings from Tlön. The counterpoint to the carnage is a NASA image of two astronauts tethered to a remote manipulator arm dangling sublimely in the blackness of space. The two posters are connected to each other by a glaring fluorescent bulb that juts downward, tunnels through the black frame of the NASA poster, and then parallels the robotic arm securing the two astronauts. The NASA poster simultaneously seems to prop up the AWC poster—as if it were the picket of a protest sign—and to be swinging from it like the end of a pendulum. The juxtaposition is a fruitful non sequitur. Jackson has not successfully appropriated the AWC poster. Instead, he has demonstrated its gravity.

Matthew Day Jackson

Drawings from Tlön
Nicole Klagsbrun
Through 18 October



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