|Art In Review
Monday, July 10, 2006
The New York Times
Clarity of purpose is always a plus, and Orchard, a newcomer on the Lower East Side, may have the market cornered. The creation of about a dozen people, including the artists Cheyney Thompson, Andrea Fraser and Nicolás Guagnini, it is part reading room, part commercial art gallery, and focused on brainy, politically minded art.
''September 11. 1973,'' its third show, which Mr. Guagnini organized, is didactic and incendiary. In work spanning the last three decades, it considers this coincidence: Sept. 11 is the date of the 1973 C.I.A.- backed coup against President Salvador Allende of Chile, and the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. In other words, 9/11's status as a day of world-changing events and mourning began 28 years earlier than most people realize.
Works by Hans Haacke, Juan Downey, Dara Birnbaum, Ivan Navarro, Luis Camnitzer, Cuauhtémoc Medina and others zigzag between then and now, illuminating a not so surprising web of abuses of power, liberties and people. The web becomes explicit in Oyvind Fahlstrom's maplike overview of 20th- century colonialism, done in 1973, and Mark Lombardi's more surgical ''Bush-Harken Oil Osama Relationships'' of 1999.
Charged overloads of imagery and information also prevail in a promising, sprawling 2002 collage- drawing by Diego Fernandez; it commemorates his father, who was among Chile's ''disappeared.'' Another find is Ana Tiscornia, a Uruguayan artist living in New York who charts how mention of the recent 9/11 faded from her e-mails in the months that followed. Altogether this show rubs salt in wounds that, remembered or not, won't heal anytime soon. ROBERTA SMITH
Correction: October 20, 2005, Thursday The Art in Review column in Weekend on Friday referred incorrectly to the artist Cheyney Thompson. While he was at the opening of the ''September 11. 1973'' show at the Orchard Gallery on the Lower East Side, he is not one of the gallery's creators.