The Fussy Eye: Tiny Faces of Death

Sorry, but Serpent has slunk away.

You only had one chance to see The Serpent Reveals All, and it’s gone. First Thursday was the occasion for a one-shot exhibit called “Magicality” at Platform, which is closed for August—summer hours and all. (A new show opens Sept. 2.) This kind of seems unfair to the casual gallery visitor, but the arts can be cruel that way. And, unfortunately, Serpent is way in back, so you can hardly see it from the front window. From a distance, Eric Trosko‘s creation looks like a twisted rope suspended from the ceiling, maybe 20 feet tall. Get closer, and it seems to be an unlikely stack of playing cards. At proper viewing distance, it’s neither. Rather, the artist has strung together a bunch of cow bones, something like necklace beads, and hand-painted the slightly convex surfaces like cards from a somewhat demonic red-and-white deck. (Where did Trosko get the bones? Are other skeletal creations in the works? Perhaps it’s better not to ask.) The calcium tiles also suggest oversized dominoes, and you wonder how they’d clack in your hands were they not skewered upright. The alternating patterns put you in mind of a coral snake’s bands. How does it go in herpetology—the brighter the colors, the more dangerous the bite? And cards too are associated with sudden and sometimes disastrous changes of luck. But then, you had to be lucky to see it. And it’s your bad luck to be reading this now, too late.