In a fanciful postmodern project filled with ridiculous pathos, Philip Hartigan appropriated photos of Lucerne, Switzerland, to which he has never been; enlarged them so as to decompose their details; drew over them with softly colored squiggly lines recalling aerosol art, graffiti and tags; printed them at postcard size; joined them to each other so that they fold out like an accordion; and accompanied the resulting work with his diary of a fictitious visit there. Do not expect a travelogue; the dark brown and charcoal-black images with which Hartigan has ended up are washed out, roughed up, gritty, etiolated and barely legible depictions of hollowed-out human figures and shells of buildings that give no sense of place and make us feel that we are in a smudged land of the shades, brightened by some puckish color, where all is alien. As for the diary, it records the failed adventures of a hapless quintessential Gen-X loser; the entry “She Took Me to Her Place,” recounts the story of our anti-hero beating a hasty retreat when his pick-up starts to undress and he wimps out. Hartigan surely saved himself trouble by confining his tourism to a virtual trip. (Michael Weinstein)
Through October 30 at Finestra Art Space, 410 South Michigan.