WHEN THE CHOICE BETWEEN lingering in front of a video projector or hitting a half-dozen other galleries is increasingly a cinch, the jolting energy, nerve, and intricacy of twenty-four-year-old Ryan Trecartin’s work in the medium comes as no small shock. An abiding interest in indie rock, goth, psychedelia, and other hot topics won’t distinguish his practice from that of other artists of his generation. But everything aesthetic about his videos—from the baroque screenplays that polish flippant teen slang into cascading soliloquies to the dueling fascinations with profound loneliness and extremely affected behavior to the swarming, jumbled, yet precisely composed shots that pack each frame to the rafters with visual stimuli—displays a near obliviousness to what’s going on in his field, whether it be the clichés of current video art or the signature styles of past experimental films. Trecartin does, however, share a penchant for full-frontal gayness and a love of extravagance with the movie directors his work most immediately brings to mind: Kenneth Anger, Jack Smith, and early John Waters.
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