"Intelligent Design" at Momenta

Aaron Williams Forever 2006 tree, mirror, acrylic and enamel paints, wood shim, string 72" x 16' x 12", in the foreground, with works by Ivan Navarro, Deborah Grant and Aron Namenworth on the walls [installation view]

[detail of "Forever"]

I love to find a show that's as attractive as it is challenging, but it's bingo! when it's also photogenic. Momenta's current exhibition was "guest organized" (the phrase taken from the press release) by Rico Gatson and Ellie Murphy, and it is all of the above.

The theme shared by these 18 works by 14 artists is their use of different systems to get at material which is essentially unsystematic. The gallery notes say that the title of the show, "Intelligent Design", is intended to reference an indifference to theories of evolution or arguments for intelligent design. As someone living in America who is profoundly secular in orientation, I really feel the heat from that last phrase; I also found the discussion contained in the complete text somewhat abstruse. I'd like to think that it's essentially about the thought and practice of a generation which has walked away from the old, bogus debate and is now proceeding to address the world on its own terms.

The participating artists are Jane Benson, Judy Blanco, Sanford Biggers, Nicole Cherubini, Rico Gatson, Deborah Grant, Elana Herzog, Ellie Murphy, Aron Namenwirth, Ivan Novarro, Kelly Parr, Ara Peterson, Traci Tullius, Aaron Williams, and James Yamada.

Ivan Novarro White Holeway 2006 aluminum door, mirror, one-way mirror, light bulbs, and electic energy 86" x 39.5" x 4.5" [installation view, including image of photographer]

Kelly Parr Threes (January and July) 2007 digital print collage 108" x 60" [installation view]