Pulliam Deffenbaugh’s Free Love Gods addresses nostalgia from the same general era, but from the perspective of Gen-X and –Y artists looking back with a mixture of longing and campy condescension. Erik Bluhm’s collage of dashiki-clad flower children blurs the line between a smile and a smirk, as does Benjamin Lord’s psychedelic sunburst of a print. Longing for kindergarten in the shag-carpeted ’70s, Ami Tallman scrawls amateurish interiors and architectural details, Rebekah Miles creates ersatz dust jackets for pre-existing books, and Chris Jahncke gives credence to the age-old put-down of contemporary art: “My third-grader could do that!” This show was curated by Anna Fidler, a brilliant artist in her own right, whose felt, crayon and Magic Marker fantasias have made her a standout in Pulliam Deffenbaugh’s stable. Fidler did not curate herself into Free Love Gods, but if she had, none of these artists could have held a candle to her own work, with the possible exception of Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Reed Anderson. His Minorly Happy is a miracle of intricate cutouts, stencil-like pixels, and every color group known to man, woman or beast: earth tones abutting pastels alongside fluorescents in jarring, jubilant coexistence. This show and Augen’s rock reverie prove that nostalgia is the opposite of history: The former is the province of fantasy, the latter of context. In art, fantasy always wins. .
SEE IT:Bande à part at Augen DeSoto, 716 NW Davis St., 546-5056. Closes Aug. 27. Free Love Gods at Pulliam Deffenbaugh, 929 NW Flanders St., 228-6665. Closes Aug. 30.