Jonathan Horowitz @ DCA

Article by Ben Robinson | 13 Dec 2010

For the screening of Jonathan Horowitz’s 20-minute film Apocalypto Now, the audience is seated in a chamber that’s declared entirely carbon-neutral and impeccably eco-friendly. We’re gathered here to see a film that cuts up Hollywood disaster movies with news reports of environmental destruction, an Armageddon presided over by the smirking, would-be lovable rogue Mel Gibson, earnestly propagating his faith while flirting with a starstruck interviewer.This gripping, terrible spectacle has the fickle gallery crowd glued to their seats. Nobody moves for the duration. A rarity on a busy opening night.

Apocalypto Now is the explosive centrepiece of Horowitz’s solo exhibition at the DCA, Minimalist Works from the Holocaust Museum. Presenting art that dares to tackle heavy subjects, his work delivers big themes with a direct approach, sweetening the pill with doses of elegance and wit.

Pink Curve remakes an Ellsworth Kelly sculpture from the Washington DC Holocaust Museum, and is here presented in the shade of pink used to distinguish homosexuals in Nazi Germany.

The pristinely white Pillow Talk Bed features pillows emblazoned with the names of renowned couples of recent history, from John and Yoko to Bert and Ernie.

Throughout the exhibition are works that play a reassuringly straight bat, accessible and easy to digest. When discussing politics and popular culture, such an approach is surely acceptable. However, when leaflets explaining the meaning of each artwork are handed out, one starts to pine for something that retains an air of mystery. Is it really necessary for the artist to tell us what tofu is?

Despite this, much of Minimalist Works from the Holocaust Museum undoubtedly succeeds in its own strident fashion. Apocalypto Now, nonetheless, thoroughly steals the show. It signifies the end of the world as media event, a rapid jump cut from phosphorus rocket fire to the twinkling of Mel’s eye.

Tue - Sat 10.30am-5.30pm; Thu (late opening until 8.30pm); Sun 12am-5.30pm 

Closed 24-25 Dec & 1-2 Jan