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Frances Stark’s first solo museum exhibition, featuring The Unspeakable Compromise of the Portable Work of Art (1998 - 2002), is currently on view at the UCLA Hammer Museum. In the vault gallery, a special curvilinear room that seems to seal out all distraction the moment you walk in, a series of sixteen text and paper works hangs quietly. “Elegant” appropriately describes the work’s formal qualities. Repeated letters finally spell out a recognizable sentence (most often the same as the series’ title phrase). Stark’s phrases usually come from literary or cultural sources; in this series, Daniel Buren’s 1971 essay “The Function of the Studio” is referenced. The poetry of the work (Stark is also a frequently published writer) resonates when the content and the work’s formal qualities gel. Through August 25.

—Julie Deamer

- Meredith Tromble [Tuesday, July 30th, 2002]

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