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Michael Day Jackson
at Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston Houston, Texas
Recommendation by Bill Davenport

Matthew Day Jackson, 'Heart of Prometheus,' 2009

Michael Day Jackson's “The Immeasurable Distance” is sparse, professional, and generic: dry allegorical sculpture and understated videos that would be at home in any international biennial. Neon tubes, race cars, human skulls and atom bombs give the show the dutiful veneer of topical smarts as explicative wall text empties the contents of Jackson's mind into our laps. But Jackson's mind seems filled with trite observations presented like revelations. Did you know that Brancusi's iconic modernist sculpture “Bird in Space” resembles a rocket ship, and every state in the lower 48 boasts a famous rock shaped like a human profile? Still, Jackson's best pieces evoke a lonely technocratic hero, embodied in “Lonesome Soldier” as a deflated astronaut pinned high against a wall on a long wooden beam. In “Heart of Prometheus” lurks the ghost of legendary drag racer Don Garlits, who built the massive dragster engine Jackson presents as sculpture. Jackson's endearing nerdy enthusiasm stands, like the engine, naked and unabashed.

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston | CAMH

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