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This new play about the contemporary art world is as juvenile as its characters. logo
Nicole LaLiberte and Asher Grodman in Artfuckers
(© Carol Rosegg)
Amy Winehouse isn't the only one for whom rehab is the place to be these days. Another temporary patient is Owen Fitzgerald, the central figure of Michael Domitrovich's Artfuckers, currently at DR2 and every bit as juvenile as its faux-bold title suggests.

Domitrovich -- whose puddle-shallow script was first presented at Theater for a New City last year -- thinks he has some trenchant observations to make about young people caught up in the contemporary Manhattan art and fashion worlds. But audiences are likely to disagree when they get a load of how sculptor Owen (Will Janowitz) and four friends -- foulmouthed public relations gal Maggie (Jessica Kaye), so-cool-he's-hot composer Trevor (Asher Grodman), languid and dim-witted model-designer Bella (Nicole LaLiberte), and scarf-addicted, women's fashion designer Max (Tuomas Hiltunen) -- behave towards one another in a series of flashbacks and a finale flashforward from that enforced therapeutic pit stop.

As these intelligence-challenged Gen Z figures try to shake nervous-wreck Owen out of an institutionalizing depression -- brought on by a bad review in Artforum -- they make unintentionally laugh-provoking remarks including "I used to do Coke on weekends -- I stopped when I finished high school" or "I'm the queen of everything below 14th Street" or "Our bowel movements have artistic merit." And that's only in the first 10 minutes of the two-act play!

Soon, other reasons are revealed behind Owen's overdosing lapse; most notably that Bella, who is Owen's girlfriend, slept with Trevor. Maggie and Owen later get it on, too, in her attempt at inspiring him enough to finish a large piece for Max's next runway outing. None of them sleeps with Max, who is gay -- as are so many fashion designers in plays like this. While these sexual acts are vulgar and unnecessary, they do require LaLiberte -- who is truly stunning in the wet-lipped way of cosmetics mannequins -- and Grodman to get naked and show off their nubile bodies.

Unfortunately, the acting by the live quintet (as well as four videoed figures) is inadequate -- so much so that there are times when the actors have trouble articulating their words. That basic inability also points at director Eduardo Machado's falling down on the admittedly reality-defying job. He also runs into trouble having the cast and a poker-faced stagehand in scrubs repeatedly moving furniture back and forth on Maruti Evans' serviceable set.

By the way, don't assume the various couplings are what give Domitrovich's play its title. According to the script, the "artfuckers" are actually two unbilled talking heads intermittently projected on a downstage scrim to make brittle remarks about Owen -- not unlike the cynicisms uttered somewhat more effectively in the uptown Sunday in the Park With George revival. This weird coincidence gives the lie to the old saying about great minds thinking in the same direction: Sometimes great and not so great minds also think alike.

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