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Featured Review: Currents 103: Claudia Schmacke

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Currents 103: Claudia Schmacke Time is rendered physical in this site-specific installation, Time Reel. Schmacke, a Berlin-based artist who was this year's Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund fellow at Washington University's School of Art, has threaded clear plastic tubing in a neat line through the gallery wall. Behind the wall, a pump throbs, pushing green water through the long-looped tubes, which subtly flinch with the water's pressure on the gallery floor. It's an eerie motion, like that of something being resuscitated or still twitching, post-mortem. While the piece, at face value, leans toward mad-scientist spectacle, with an agenda as familiar as a pop song, its dead animism thrusts it somewhere more disconcerting — into the realm of institutional critique. The tubes' fading life throes seem to suggest that all things current, strange and elusive must struggle to retain their spirit amid static and vivisecting overdetermination. Through July 5 at the Saint Louis Art Museum, One Fine Arts Drive (in Forest Park); 314-721-0072 or www.slam.org. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sun. (10 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.)

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