Review: The Art Assignment Show by Sarah Urist Green 

It's the gallery version of PBS' The Art Assignment

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Curated by Sarah Urist Green, host of the PBS Digital Media production The Art Assignment, this exhibit mimics the artistic call and response of her weekly series. That is, Green tasked three Indy artists to make art and then give out an assignment that mirrors their artistic approach. Both the art of the assignment makers and the artists completing the assignments is on display here.

Brian McCutcheon's approach, in "Trailer Queen II," was to transform a Weber Grill with automotive paint and speed parts. The end product looks like it might win a NASCAR race and barbecue your meat at once. His assignment to fellow artists, unsurprisingly, was to "Customize it!" Gautam Rao did just that: in "Expanded Carpet" he took an ordinary carpet and turned it into a jungle gym by building up wood platforms at various levels, and laying stretches of carpet on it, customized to fit. (At the opening kids were playing on said construction.)

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Lauren Zoll's approach — inviting randomness in — is the opposite of McCutcheon's: she paints surfaces with black latex paint and then photographs the completed paintings in various lit environments. Her assignment was to turn a TV or monitor screen "OFF" and see what kinds of reflections such a screen could conjure up. Kat Silver took up the challenge not only exhibiting a photograph of a reflection in a screen but a painting of said reflection.

Nathaniel Russell's assignment was to make a fake flyer. (One of Russell's was a digital print on 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper entitled "I wish I was born an animal," featuring a digital print of a cheetah.) Greg Potter's response was to make a flyer for a fake lecture series using his own painting "Surviving Narcissism and Nihilism in Neolithic Society," as the image in his flyer. Maybe you thought that narcissism and nihilism were modern problems. But Potter's work, combining a painting evoking the earliest cave paintings with a seemingly tossed-off flyer, shows that contemporary art can be at once playful and painterly. What's more — countering the nihilism of some in the art world — it shows that there's still a place for representational painting in contemporary art.

through August 26, Gallery 924, 924 N. Pennsylvania Ave.

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