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Art review: Matteo Tannat at Marc Foxx Gallery

May 13, 2010 |  4:00 pm
400.mt_2010_dear_______(alone) Matteo Tannat is a sort of artist-busker. His photographs, silk-screen paintings and sculptural ensembles at Marc Foxx Gallery have the quality of street performers hoping to catch your eye – and your momentary sympathy – to manage their survival.

That’s his subject too. Tannat’s works obliquely record an unidentified squatter in an abandoned Wilshire Boulevard building, someone who disappeared after the place was torn down but is here recalled through remnants of a performer’s clothing and props: a battered top hat, a blanket, a cane, some snapshots and other fragments.

One sculpture is a little stage partly enclosed by freestanding walls. Another is a cardboard wardrobe, the kind that professional movers use, here rendered in durable stainless steel. A third is a glass wall on which a heartfelt, handwritten note to the missing person has been silk-screened; through the words you see a ghostly white hat atop a pole, with a beggar’s tin can below.

The story is loosely self-referential. Tannat is here performing on Wilshire, temporarily busking for the art world’s passing parade and soon to be gone. There’s a wistful quality to his work, not to mention a clear-eyed understanding of art’s current situation. And given this show’s resonance, there’s good reason to believe Tannat will be back.

– Christopher Knight

Marc Foxx Gallery, 6150 Wilshire Blvd., (310) 857-5571, through Saturday.

Images: "Dear__________, 2010" (top) and "Cold Storage." Courtesy of Mark Foxx Gallery.