Featured Review: Thea Djordjadze & George Maciunas

Thea Djordjadze, Explain away, 2009. Wood, hardboard, carpet, paint, clay and fabric; dimensions variable.
Courtesy of the artist and Spruth Magers, Berlin.
Thea Djordjadze, Explain away, 2009. Wood, hardboard, carpet, paint, clay and fabric; dimensions variable.

Featured Review: Thea Djordjadze & George Maciunas For this Front Room exhibition, co-curators Mel Trad and Mari Dumett couple George Maciunas, one of the founders of the mid-century art movement Fluxus, with Berlin-based contemporary artist Thea Djordjadze. Maciunas, who was primarily a graphic designer, is represented via artifacts — posters and postage stamps, business cards and brief, atmospheric films — tracing the lineage of a conceptual medium that blithely elided any false promise of providing logical meaning. Djordjadze, who constructed her piece during a brief residency in St. Louis, takes her title, His Vanity Requires No Response, from T.S. Eliot — a dual homage to the birthplace of the poet and to the poetic in general. Gathering salvaged fragments — swaths of carpet, a bent screen, a terra-cotta shard — she arranges the discarded materials on the floor to form an assemblage that draws attention to the simple consequences of overlapping, proximity and the movement of the hand. Above the piece hangs a series of printed instructions Maciunas designed for installations by fellow Fluxus pioneer George Brecht. A kind of dialogue, like that between gravity and rain, emerges and proliferates here, yet manages never to conclude in a tidy summary — rendering this exhibit an elegant testimony to the durable tradition of visual mystery. Through March 20 at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 3750 Washington Boulevard; 314-535-4660 or www.contemporarystl.org. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun.

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