The New York Times
Art in Review
January 10, 1997, Friday
By Holland Cotter
Lombard Freid Fine Arts
470 Broome Street, SoHo
Through Jan. 18
The maverick independent curator Kenny Schachter, who usually organizes shows of young, unknown artists in rented spaces, goes legit with this show in a commercial gallery. It's good to report that neither his imaginative eye nor his humor have deserted him.
''The Experimenters'' has a portentous-sounding theme, the intersection of art and science, but the results are far closer to Dada than to Leonardo, and much of the work has a determinedly low-tech, science-fair feel.
There is, for example, a good amount of cellular imagery: in Rachel Harrison's photographs (actually close-ups of an anthill), Lucky De Bellevue's looping floor-to-ceiling sculpture made of what look like woven pipe cleaners, and a jeweler's tray of sterling silver chromosomes by Jon Tower.
Medical science shows up in Christian Schumann's minute drawings of hospital hardware and in Damian Hirst's shelf of syringes. And the human body undergoes transformations in John Le Kay's crystallizing Buddha head of paradichlorobenzene (the material for deodorizing urinals), Ilona Malka's robot, Robert Chambers's stockings soaked in hair gel, Yoshio Itagaki's computer-generated cyber-geishas and Sowon Kwon's delicate drawing of a woman with four vertically stacked heads.
Electronics plays its part, sort of: Laurence Seward contributes a wooden sculpture of a microwave oven complete with baking potato, James Franklin a painting of a space heater, and Steven Brower a light bulb stuffed with cigarette butts. And Karen Kilimnik's ''Lighting,'' a lovely painting of a tiny chandelier suspended in a cloudy sky, provides the gentlest charge of electricity.
Oh, and there's genetics. Mr. Schachter, an artist himself, offers his ''Seedbed,'' an architectural model holding rows of labeled test tubes (''Marcel Duchamp,'' ''Andy Warhol,'' etc.) and emblazoned with the words ''Artists First International Sperm Bank.'' Like everything else, his contribution is a bit rough around the edges, but ''edge'' is the point here, and he clearly has material for cloning this project many times over. Let's hope he does.