Featured Art Review: Commonwealth

Derek Larson, Can't Relax, 2011, foamcore, wood and DVD projection.
Derek Larson, Can't Relax, 2011, foamcore, wood and DVD projection.

Featured Art Review: Commonwealth Time Bandits — the 1981 Terry Gilliam film about technology, treasure hunting and time-traveling dwarves — isn't a bad aesthetic analogy for this far-out multimedia installation by Derek Larson. Using video projection and freestanding screens cut to fit the projected imagery, Larson creates a dense virtual garden of Greek statuary, in which fountains and figures pulse with all the frenetic insistence of the Las Vegas Strip. The lascivious Barberini Faun, for instance, surrounded by twitching bulbs, a faux rustling shrub and neon-hued throbbing fractals. And a precarious-looking bridgelike arrangement that features a life-size marble bust, a cascade of men's dress shoes, and a pearl necklace that dangles from a chain of drastically scaled-down piles of fresh timber. On the gallery walls, framed prints take up the theme in two dimensions: grid-patterned 1980s-era landscapes that depict antiquities amid a techno-ether of conspicuous commodities and shades of hot pink. Close inspection of the prints, however, reveals that each contains a digital watermark: All of the works are property of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. It's not hard to glom onto the dialectic of the publicly sharable versus the privately owned, but it's far more rewarding simply to enjoy it as playful absurdity. In the event you're still dubious, there's a series of crude pig drawings in one far corner of the gallery that ends in a pile of miniature money bags. How evil can evil be, if it has such a goofy face? Through November 5 at Good Citizen Gallery, 2247 Gravois Avenue; 314-348-4587 or www.goodcitizenstl.com. Hours: noon-5 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and by appointment.

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