The invitation to The Whitney Museum of American Art opening had an image of a clear crystal skull against a white and gray background. Sherrie Levine’s “Mayhem” had me from the start. But nothing close to mayhem occurs in this exhibition. Over all it is disappointingly sedate, resembling a tastefully appointed art boutique full of fastidious, expensive-looking objects lightly dusted with irony. I’d like to think that Ms. Levine is a better artist than this, but I’m not sure. Whatever life her art has mustered in the past seems to have been mostly left at the door. (NY Times) There are pieces that I love though. The skulls transfixed me and the crystal newborns are mesmerizingly beautiful. On the Whitney’s site there is a great audio guide playlist that explains the pieces and their history. Even with that, I’m sorry to say that the plywood with colored in knots are still lost on me and no matter how you frame it, standing in the Whitney looking at a golden urinal is too snarky, even for me.
“Sherrie Levine: Mayhem” runs through Jan. 29 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, ; (212) 570-3600, whitney.org.