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Review of alumnus "Pictures Generation" artist Jack Goldstein

June 10, 2013
Wall Street Journal

By Richard B. Woodward

An '80s Casualty Gets His Due

'Jack," one of six short 16mm films playing on a loop near the entrance to "Jack Goldstein x 10,000" at the Jewish Museum, is a good place to try to get a handle on this elusive, passive-aggressive artist.

A performance piece from 1973, it's a simple two-person interactive drama: A young man stands in a desert landscape and calls out the name "Jack," at which point the filmmaker takes a shaky step backward. Similar to other minimalist time-and-space dissections, this one also has a forlorn, autobiographic undertone. With each step of the procedure, repeated over the 11 minutes, 24 seconds of the film, the man grows tinier, his voice fainter until he is so distant from the camera and us as to be an inaudible speck in the twilight.

If Goldstein feared that his name would be forgotten after his death—and his art is riddled with anxieties about the Void—he shouldn't have. Since his 2003 suicide in a San Bernardino, Calif., trailer park after years of heroin addiction, his peculiar and sometimes poignant art is more visible and honored than when he was alive. Read More

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