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Gary Hill Mixes It Up

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 15, 2006 10:12PM

Watching freaky video installations can be the most fun you’ll have at an art museum, but we’ve always wondered whether art patrons are really willing to drop a few thousand bucks for a few LED screens, DVDs and projection equipment, just to recreate the mind-blowing goodness in their own living rooms. More than a few are apparently. Donald Young saw this potential back in the 1970s when he and his then-wife Rhona Hoffman, whose own gallery is around the corner, started championing video artists and their post-groovy but no less mind blowing projects.

Hilllegs.jpgFor most of the 90s, Mr. Young followed some rather generous art patrons to Seattle. But snowy, blustery spring days trumped six months of rain, and he returned to Chicago in ’99 to open his own West Loop gallery and promote his impressively talented friends. An ARTForum favorite, the Donald Young Gallery is out to sell you installations that will amaze, and perhaps frighten, your friends and loved ones.

hillchst.jpgOn display through next month is the work of Gary Hill, a video artist (videographer?) trafficking in intelligent, postmodern Zen and the just plain bizarre. Remixing and slicing up familiar scenes, Hill lulls you in with beautiful visuals before dropping the acid tab. Yes, those are farm animals in an uneasy Church and State marriage. Yes, that book is leafing through those Big Legs. In the rear gallery, we were overpowered by sonic razor blades over quick cuts of hyperordinary scenes. It was a beautifully sickening assault on the senses. We couldn’t wait to get out of there, then we couldn’t wait to go back in. Hill's other features are slightly off-kilter, burrowing into the subconscious and following you around for a few days. Maybe longer.

The Gary Hill exhibit is at the Donald Young Gallery, 933 W. Washington Blvd., through April 15. The gallery is open 10:30 am through 5:30 pm, Tuesday-Friday, 11 am – 5:30 pm Saturday. More information at 312-455-0100.