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April 9, 1998

All of Me
New Langton Arts
1246 Folsom St.
(between Eighth and Ninth sts.)
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 626-5416
April 1 to May 9
Opening reception: Thursday, April 2, 6-8 pm

In America, self-obsession is a curiously revered trait. On countless Jerry Springer-ish talk shows, jilted lovers engage in intimate personal dramas and physical fights, seemingly oblivious to the camera, yet hyperaware of the blazing lights of fame. Artists traffic in a similarly ambivalent world, caught between the desire for notice and star status and the inherent solitary nature of the creative process - not to mention the idea that artists are hardly revered media figures in this country. "All of Me" taps right into this sometimes uneasy look-at-me terrain and attempts to uncover a happy brand of narcissism. Not surprisingly, this group show is alive with the chattering sounds and flickering lights of dueling audio and video pieces, all starring the artists themselves. Scott Trattner donned art-star status for a site-specific piece in which his air-kissy hobnobbing through the opening reception was recorded celebrity documentary style. Nearby, Tony Tasset presents an infomercial exalting the role of the artist as lovable chap, while Alex Bag stars as various types of art school babes in her comedy-sketch/character-study art video. Others chart a lonelier life. A curiously funky installation by the singularly named Carter looks at how he turned his tiny apartment into an ersatz version of Warhol's factory - complete with wigs and a live camera. His computer desktop video is a particularly revealing creation of a personal universe. Poet Eileen Myles uses the more time-honored slide show format to tell autobiographical anecdotes, lecture style. And Steve Reinke's engaging "100 Videos" serves as an impressionistic self-portrait through carefully edited, and frequently erotic, moving images. Only Carolyn Castaño uses a static medium. Her candy-colored paintings form a playful self-portrait via images of all her ex-boyfriends. To absorb all of "All of Me" requires some hefty viewer commitment - it's an insular collection of lengthy videos - but it's worth indulging in.

-Glen Helfand