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You have only two more weekends to see Krowswork's current exhibition – Monet Clark: California Girl - A Retrospective Debut; a remarkable show that indeed eschews the format of coming out party and survey. Representing 20 odd years - and I do mean odd, including an homage to stripper culture and the harrowing years suffering from a nearly fatal struggle with chronic Environmental Illness - it somehow seems like both those things.

The installation (Krowswork installations are ambitious as any museum) of the collection is meant to be visited from right to left, artfully chronicling the aforementioned bio and delivering the viewer in a final gallery displaying a prayer of gratitude. The medium is video, as shimmering and slick as a Union Square bus stop, but worlds more soulful and formal.

The center gallery houses a half dozen vertically-oriented flatscreens to accommodate Monet's lanky, leggy performance instrument. Collectively they tell a meta-narrative but each piece is also a free standing chapter that expertly practices a narrative minimalism worthy of Linda Montano or Cindy Sherman.

COUNTER finds Clark counting stacks of cash on a SOMA-inspired white patent leather chair against a white background. She plays with looking directly at the camera/viewer and yet not accusingly, as a lesser feminist artist might. It's more of a "better-not-tell" kind of look of collaboration. MUSE finds the artist being enveloped by winding misogynist text that she literally tries to shake and shimmy off, to no avail.

A solid show that will make you very glad you made the specific trek. That rare construct where the whole is significantly greater than the sum of its parts.

On View until December 17,  Fridays 3-6, Saturdays 1-5

Krowswork
480 23rd Street-side entrance
Oakland, California
510-229-7035
info@krowswork.com

- Natalie Welch [Thursday, December 1st, 2011]

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