Review of "Bikinis, Bandanas and a VW Bus"
Soho Exhibition at Graham Gallery
1014 Madison Avenue, NYC
March 7- APril 6, 2002
Time Out New York
March 21-28, 2002 Issue No. 338
review by Robert Mahoney

photo credit: Michel Delsol

Devorah Sperber, "Bikinis,
Bandanas and a VW Bus"
James Graham & Sons, through Apr 6

With her latest show, Devorah Sperber joins today's mini-movement of artists who are using technology that didn't exist just a few years ago to transform objects from the more traditional bricks-and-mortar world. Often, Sperber fixates on icons of Ameridan culture from the'60s and '70s, which live on as facile emblems of rebellion for well-heeled baby boomers. VW Bus/Shower Power, for instance, is a hanging shower rod forming a rectangle in the center of one gallery; the curtain dangling around it is decorated with 60,000 little flower appliqués, which were applied by hand even though their number and placement were mapped out on a computer. Ar first, this installation seems like a lovely, luxurious bathroom item.But viewed in a fish-eve mirror mounted on a nearby wall, it becomes a wild, all-over flower-power design worthy of Ken Kesev's bus. Here, Summer of Love freedom becomes more than mere ambience for a nice shampooing.

Another installation consists of a hanging bikini top and bottom emblazoned with the Stars and Stripes. A closer inspection reveals that the patterns (again, initially composed on computer) are made with thousands of color coded tacks stuck into clear vinyl. The result is a patriotic statement that seems to pledge allegiance to boob jobs while also pricking the deadpan slickness of such fashion-conscious displays of the flag. Previously, Sperber focused solely on the optical trickery of her art; this time out, she has elaborated her work to include a certain biting, double-edged sense of humor. -Robert Mahoney

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