by Jerry Saltz
Tamy Ben-Tor, "Exploration in the Domain of Idiocy," Nov. 17, 2005-Jan. 14, 2006, at Zach Feuer Gallery, 530 West 24th Street, New York, N.Y. 10011
As the shit storm builds, stupidity, ill will, self-indulgence and incompetence meld and become more dangerous. All and Nothing join forces and seek to be released from limits; dogma spawns terror as well as the war against it; the marriage of idealism and cynicism is consummated in acts of violence. The ferociously incisive, fiercely funny Tamy Ben-Tor relentlessly plumbs this maelstrom in her unnerving performances and videos, many of which are trancey rants or vindictive incantations dealing with bigotry, blood feuds, the browbeaten and the misbegotten. Ben-Tor doesn't quite echo Nietzsche's barb that "The joy in seeing others suffer is inferior only to the joy in causing that suffering," but her work exudes a predatory glee. Ben-Tor takes us to an insurrectionary, psychopathic place that feels familiar -- a place where no one wishes to be understood and idiocy, incessant petulance and sheer obnoxiousness reign.