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Review: Hector Zamora's quiet indictment of American dream at REDCAT

For his first solo exhibition in L.A., São Paulo artist Héctor Zamora sutures together two emblems of Southern California consumerism: the single family home and the shopping cart.

Nearly filling the gallery at REDCAT, "Panglossian Paradigm" consists of a single sculpture: the wooden frame of a small, six-room house entirely supported by evenly spaced metal shopping carts. An odd and unwieldy structure to be sure -- giving new meaning to the term “mobile home” -- it is a quiet indictment of the American dream.

Perhaps it speaks to the ritual nature of consumerism that I was initially struck by the impulse to start pushing the house around. It may be Pavlovian: When I see a shopping cart, I want to start moving and filling it with stuff.

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Still, the house is theoretically mobile, suggesting impermanence and transience -- far from the sentiments one associates with home sweet home. Then again, from another angle, shopping carts are the only “homes” some people have.

Zamora’s carts and house are also both strikingly empty. Things that were built to be filled are instead skeletal and evacuated: The stuff is gone, but the structure remains.

Just as the shopping carts are thoroughly integrated with the lower beams of the house, the housing crisis is of a piece with a dead-end pattern of excessive consumption. Zamora’s understated sculpture reminds us that an economic recovery is not just a matter of rebounding, but of more fundamental change.

The Gallery at REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., (213) 237-2800, through Sept. 1. Closed Mondays.


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