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Review: Storm Thorgerson/Public Works Gallery

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A hardcore surrealist, Storm Thorgerson injected the early twentieth century avant-garde into the rock music of the later part of the past century through his famous album covers for mega-star classic-rock bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. A conceptual photographer who takes his lead from the themes of the albums that he visualizes, Thorgerson meditates on the work at hand until he has intuited an image that satisfies him; at that point he has a piece of art in the making that ends up standing for itself, independent of the album that was its occasion, though with tight reference to it if one wishes to know the back story, which Thorgerson provides in wall text for the thirty-two images here. Thorgerson reaches the peak of conceptual art in his cover for Black Sabbath’s “Technical Ecstasy”—a hilarious take on what rough sex for the androids who will surely replace us might be like—a rigid metallic robot shoots a lime-green ray straight into a saucer-shaped egg-white partner sporting red blotches and replying by emitting a loopy stream of ink-black glop that spatters over the robot’s block-head. (Michael Weinstein)

Through November 2 at Public Works Gallery, 1539 North Damen

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