The Woodstock Times
February 1, 2007

"Hanging out with Mona Lisa, upside down:
Woodstock artist Devorah Sperber's show opens at Brooklyn Museum this week"

by Paul Smart

Woodstock Times Review, February 1, 2007 After The Mona Lisa 2, by Devorah Sperber

Big museum shows are not that easy to get for younger artists - especially at places like the Brooklyn Museum, where Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party got its start, the controversial "Sensation" show of 1999 hit US shores and everyone from Basquiat to Leibowitz has been pushed into the Major Arcana of Everlasting Art with major exhibitions. For a Woodstock artist to get the big nod is quite remarkable - as sculptor Devorah Sperber has with her new "Eye of the Artist" show that opened last week, gets a special reception and sold-out artist's lecture this coming Saturday, February 3 and then a run through May 6. The exhibit has already been signed up to move on to the Berkshires-based Mass MOCA and Boise Art Museum next year, and future major institutions in the years to come. Sperber's also showing, concurrently this winter and spring, at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, North Carolina, the Wood Street Gallery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh.

Woodstock Times Review, February 1, 2007, After The Last Supper by Devorah Sperber

"As a visual artist," Sperber says, "I cannot think of a topic more stimulating and yet so basic than the act of seeing - how the human brain makes sense of the visual world."

Her works are wildly imaginative and yet painstakingly constructed. She assembles upside-down versions of instantly recognizable masterpieces - Da Vinci's Mona Lisa and Last Supper, Picasso's Gertrude Stein, Van Eyck's Man in a Turban - out of different colored spools of thread hung from a fabricated steel armature. Then she places an optical lens before each piece that corrects what at first appears abstract, modernistic, into the classic that we've grown to know over the years. Talk about deconstruction - but also the exact meeting point between art and science!

Woodstock Times Review, February 1, 2007

In the past, the artist has also worked with hooked rugs, textile tufts and thousands of colored crystals on black velvet to similar effect. The underlying idea behind it all? Scientific surveys of portraits created over the past two millennia have revealed that one eye of the sitter is commonly located exactly at or near to the vertical center of the composition, as well as that the human brain is hard-wired to respond to symmetry and that the centering of that eye is appreciated at a subconscious level in the brain. And Sperber has found a way of playing with all this in both a seriously expository and fun-full sideshow manner.

It's all now getting recognized as the Next New Thing, the true cat's meow of Art Now.

And to think: Most of it was worked out in studios around Woodstock, then fabricated in Saugerties before shipping out to these shows, as well as a growing number of public sites for which Sperber's monumental art has proven a natural fit.

See this show. Beyond regionalism, go to get a gander at what intellect and aesthetics can achieve together. The Brooklyn Museum of Art is located on Eastern Parkway in New York City. Visit for more info, or for more about the artist.

@ Paul Smart

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