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Jorge Pardo at Friedrich Petzel
Installation view
In this show titled "Wool, Cotton, Latex, Wax and Steel," California artist Jorge Pardo raises questions about the relationship between art and design. On one level, the exhibition is a haunting installation, bathed in a soft, yellowish light from chartreuse chandeliers whose candles drip piles of wax onto the floor. It has the atmosphere of a spooky setting for a seance, or at least some situation in which the artist communes with the supernatural. At the same time, Pardo unapologetically transforms the gallery into a design showroom. Large, finely woven tapestries, made in Mexico according to the artist's specifications, line the walls. In the rear room, a long bolt of cotton fabric adorned with another Pardo design lies across a table, like the cover for an alter in a Catholic church.

While the emphasis here seems to be on experimental presentation, Pardo seems to strive for the spiritual in art. While directing his efforts toward this lofty goal, he echoes the idealist approach of the best '50s abstractionists. The subtle gradations of light and color in all aspects of the exhibition may reveal to viewers Pardo's unusual and highly personal path toward the mystical.

Jorge Pardo, "Wool, Cotton, Latex, Wax and Steel" at Freidrich Petzel (May 22-June 27), 26 Wooster, New York, New York 10013.