If minimalist is the intent of Harold Mendez’s MCA 12×12 installation, then minimal should be your expectations. A piece about empty landscapes and desert sounds, the room’s abstract, gleaming gray walls of packing tape become solid grids at close range, creating a perceptual play between immense natural space and the feeling of a caged, urban backyard. This oscillation is nice, but it fails to reveal anything beyond itself without significant intellectual work by the viewer. Under many circumstances the duration of this work would recommend it, but here it yields little satisfaction. The accompanying sound piece “So Long as We Can Say This Is the Worst, This is Not the Worst” was recorded in the Great Basin Desert and though it has been manipulated to effectively capture the loud quiet of such terrain, once again it leaves the viewer wanting more. Mendez clearly edits himself well, but this empty room remains psychologically and symbolically barren. (Rachel Furnari)
Through November 30 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago.