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Featured Review: In the Manner of Smoke

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Featured Review: In the Manner of Smoke Tiny ceramic cashews, granola and raisins; a community bulletin billboard filled with flyers; a plug-in Zen water garden; canvas shoulder bag; piles of emptied Morningstar and WestSoy products — all the signs betray that a leftist/vegetarian/animal-rights activist was here in this wonderfully strange installation by Pittsburgh artist Jerstin Crosby. Coop/Co-op, a gritty, ad-hoc studio of sorts that dominates the gallery, houses these clever items that aptly slip between meticulous handicraft and punk irreverence; the "brick" walls of the space are a screen-printed texture, while a photograph pinned to the wall portrays the artist, covered in the brick print and squatting in front of a (real) brick façade. Then, of course, there's the video montage of a goth restaging of Seinfeld, in which the action revolves not around Upper West Side neuroses but rather the (perhaps equally absurd) hair-splitting of what comprises the truly politically correct. For all of the direct allusions, this is a highly atmospheric exhibit, which is what makes it so trenchantly intelligent: The humor is never mudslinging, the critique not prescriptive. This is the work of a sympathizer, recognizing, with wry affection, the oddity and illogic of beliefs. The artist's billboard sign, above the gallery, sums it up: "You Cannot Control What Is Wild." Through March 20 at Good Citizen Gallery, 2247 Gravois Avenue; 314-348-4587 or www.goodcitizenstl.com. Hours: noon-5 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and by appointment.

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