David Szafranski
Recent Work, August 11 - September 8 at No. NO. 0
Karen Emenhiser
Published: Downtown Dallas News

The world gets more absurd by the minute. If you don't believe me go on down to No. NO. 0 and look at it thru the analytical eyes of David Szafranski. He shares the same subject matter as all the controversial stuff that has got the Congressional panties in a wad---same exact stuff. Sex and violence. Yawn. But, where Serrano's Piss Christ and Mapplethorpe's young flasher exhibit the effect of a twisted society, Szafranski explores the cause, a welcome diversion.

Sex and violence are dynamite selling tools---real attention grabbers. Not the reality of sex and violence, mind you. That would be too disturbing. The big bucks deal in titilation, something that skims the surface without ever addressing the deeper currents it taps into.

The Cause of a SalesmanSexviolencepoliticsreligion...has all been thru the rinse cycle and passed thru the purifying filter of advertising and commercial success. Clip art books are full of it and war toys top Santa's shopping list. Any part of the anatomy---suitably stylized and removed from all emotional context, is perfectly acceptable. Szafranski has commandeered several of these most common of images and neatly regimented them into a roguish examination of themselves. He combines the elements with a precision suggesting the authority of a scientific analysis, a hard edged and well ordered clinical study---but hardly devoid of a sense of humor. The images are elegantly grounded in fields of bang caps and dice. Fun and games.

The Cause of Salesman and the Cause of Skirts are nicely framed in aluminum gutters, adding a touching suburban note. The outcome hangs off the walls with a fresh scrubbed innocuous charm---all the while muttering something disturbingly lucid about the duality that is our moral code. I'd give the show a Jesse Helms Annoyance Factor of 2, were he just to look at it, and a 10 should he bother to think about it.


Karen Emenhiser is a freelance art critic.