The lament of the rhinestone cowboy. This solo show by St. Louis-born, New York-based artist Larry Krone collects performance memorabilia from a self-mythologized country singer (Krone) whose lyric specialty is lost love and whose star status is perpetually in memoriam. Krone customizes beer-company-logoed mirrors with elements of cross-stitch embroidery, paints "The Story of My Life" on a faux tchotchke, scrawls "I Will Always Love You" in the blue skies of plastic-wrapped souvenir photos of covered bridges and crashing waves. The show's centerpiece, entitled Then and Now (Latch Hook Hay Bales), is three massive hay bales fashioned out of discarded yarn. Gingham kerchiefs draped across the objects read "Don't Touch," lending the tableau a Grandma's China Cabinet cheap-but-cherished air. The exhibition's title is its key conundrum: None of the pieces depicts an "I" — save for one: a photo at the entrance that depicts Krone posing like Marilyn Monroe amid his bales and quilts, wearing only a white cowboy hat and multicolored hand-stitched briefs. Like the work itself, the image is at once rawly vulnerable and defiantly artificial — teetering at the precipice of pathos, clinging only to the handhold of ironic self-awareness. His eyes meet the camera dead-on, and their message need not be spoken: It's an over-the-top world, and access to its elusive heart requires a VIP badge. Through May 26 at PSTL Gallery at Pace Framing, 3842 Washington Boulevard; 314-531-4304 or www.paceframing.com. Hours: 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat.
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