One of the things I will definitely miss about NY are the Lower East Side Sundays. The big galleries of Chelsea and midtown are closed on the day of the Lord (for obvious reasons), so the bigger and smaller names of art journalism (and we) are free to join the buzzing residents of Chinatown in a lovely afternoon art –stroll.
In the blessed land of the Lower East Side the grass ain't green and the boys ain't pretty (except of one or two alarmingly charming gallerists), the people at the openings look an un-healthy mixture of Tim Barton cartoon figures and Tarantino characters; BUT they are friendly, they have time and beer in their pockets and they are even willing to share. This might just sound like Berlin, but trust me for New York it is something to cheer about. Well not “cheer”, you do not want to be that cowboy in the Wild West landscape of the LES.
Why the Wild West metaphor... there seems to be a certain code of honor and comradeship between the protagonists of this scene, which combined with the roughness of some of the spaces, and a certain roughness and somberness in the social graces (I am not talking the Woody Allen social awkwardness many New Yorkers pride themselves in, I am talking Marshall Mathers played by Clint Eastwood). There is a feeling of stepping into an un-explored, un-safe territory (well as far as the art context goes)...
And while some galleries in the LES choose to be a miniature replica of the bigger uptown galleries, some seem to be determined to carve their own path in horseshit.
not horses, but bikes
Talking about pioneer work, Ramiken Crubicle gallery has the cowboy routine down to, well, a fine art. In the three shows I have experienced in this gallery: they have brought down their glass vitrine, living the gallery front completely open; they have painted half of the space the color of diarrhea and hang the paintings on the columns instead of the walls; and this time they hosted a show of weird, amorphic*, hairy sculptures of an artist who looked like a “farmer gigolo” (not my words).
Amorphic* sculptures seemed to be the new black in the first round of shows in the 2013. Let’s get down to our WHAT DID MISS – WHAT DID NOT MISS index, starting as always, with the shows you should definitely NOT miss and moving on to the shows you…could, should miss.
*Amorphic might be the wrong word, when talking about sculptures- dismorphic, mismorphic… what I mean are abstract forms that I don’t want to just call abstract as they seriously resemble something that had a form but lost it through an excruciating, violent process.
Gavin Kenyon @ Ramiken Crubicle
until March 3, 2013
now this was not part of the installation ( we think) but the beer bucket which half of the visitors could just not reach.
the backs of Jerry Saltz and Roberta Smith and left the artist in the (of course) leather jacket.
+ nobody could reach that stupid beer bucket, ice was flying left and right and there was a great danger the thing would just collapse on everybody's feet and the scuptures. "Gut so" as the Germans say. + 2
+ Jerry Saltz buzzed around the show for full 10 minutes, touching EVERY sculpture he could get his hands own (which was all of them), only to be ignored by the gallery director with the nonchalance of a cowboy ignoring a fly while chewing on a piece of hay. Saltz then proceeded to wave the director to his side, with the nonchalance of a Queen Bee summoning the waiter for the dessert menu. Order restored. Excellent performance, both sides! + 100
+ this was a show you enter with a "WTF?", grow more uneasy during your stay and exit without being able to describe what just happened. +20
- You could have saved us the trip down the tiny stairs, if somebody told us this is just the fight-club-garage-looking "office" of the gallery - 1. We did see this though, so cool.
M O N S A L V A T
a Merkx & Gwynne project @ Bureau
organized with Maliea Croy and Allison Branham
- This is a show recommended to us left and right; as these things go in NY - hippity hip hooray. This costs the show an a priori -1; and another - 1 for whoever recommends it without having visited it. Tired of this (pseudo) intellectual conformity. It is winter, but get your coats on and go form your own damn oppinions.
- Pseudo intellectual (or pseudo anti-intellectual) . This is another little trap in projects like this. - 1
- There was no illusion, as far as our 4 eyes and 1 iphone cameras were concerned - 1. You can, however, view better pictures on the gallery site - here
- Most of the pictures/paintings did not look distorted, but just crooked. No points deducted, because the amateur-ish, collective fun in putting together something like this was palpable; and it was great to experience.
+ a novel idea, perfectly imperfectly executed + 20
+ another + 20 just for the work of Michael De Luccia in the piece
It’s Over There @ Simone Subal
Matt Keegan & James Richards, Marie Lund, Rose Marcus, Emily Mast, Lucy Skaer, Viola Yesiltac
until February 10, 2013
+ a beautifully open, warm and cozy space. Well curated show with almost all female artists ( not that we notice). Personal favorite the work of Rose Marcus
FLAVOR OF NATURE- TAKURO KUWATA @Salon 94 Bowery
until February 25, 2013
this is a show I liked almost against my will. For a young Japanese artist these pieces are Wild!
Jimmy Raskin, Petals Ears & Tears @ Miguel Abreu
until February 17, 2013
this "puzzle of a show" would be way further up the list, had there not been for so many good shows this month.
Amy Stoker: X @white box gallery
this is a silenct performance you probably missed and we just happened to pass by. In all fairness there is not an artist in the world or a citizen in Europe that does not want to do that.
Marin Majić @ Marc Strauss
until February 8, 2013
"Disturbing", "weird" "tabu" images (a mum laying one on a child's mouth, father and son hugging...) and some of them quite funny. This is a young artist living in Berlin and this is his first solo show in New York ( or maybe even ever I think)
The paintings sell at astronomical prices, which is a shaky + which can be - abruptly.
One really disturbing thing about this solo show is that there is a group show scattered within it. Really scattered, not curated.