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Art review: Chad Person at Mark Moore

August 6, 2010 | 10:21 am

400.mayor1 For his first solo show in L.A., at Mark Moore, Albuquerque-based Chad Person presents three separate bodies of work, all of which verge on clever critique but fall short. For his “Tax Cuts” series, Person dices and collages U.S. currency into images of military weaponry. The fighter planes, tanks and missiles are literally made of money — a one-liner that the artist does not develop with any conceptual or visual rigor.

Two huge inflatable sculptures in the main gallery give a jolt of edgy humor that fades quickly and leaves little to ponder. One represents an obsolete McDonald’s character, Mayor McCheese, who slouches in a corner as if exhausted, air continuously pumping in and sighing out of him. The other features a giant version of the red-orange Mobil Oil Pegasus logo on its side atop a glossy black puddle, meant to suggest oil. The winged creature doesn’t look defeated by the dark slick nor greedily sustained by it. The symbolism remains untapped, inert.

400.thirst4 The third grouping, in the smaller gallery, is most promising. It revolves around the conversion of Person’s backyard swimming pool into a fortified bunker. The RECESS project (standing for “resource exhaustion crisis evacuation safety shelter") entails homespun weapons and animal traps, fashioned from miscellaneous household goods and art supplies: pipes, twine, glue, golf balls, a dishwasher rack, parakeet feathers, speaker wire and a tube for storing art. Survivalism meets DIY craft and generates a touch of charm, and a welcome bit of friction.

-- Leah Ollman

Mark Moore Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 453-3031, through Aug. 14. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Images: "The Mayor Rests" (top) and "Thirst." Courtesy of Mark Moore Gallery.