Readers who haven’t seen The Station need to do so before it closes. Curated by Shamim M. Momin (Co-Curator of the 2004 and 2008 Whitney Biennial) and artist and curator Nate Lowman, the space itself remains raw and largely untouched. A sandpit in the front foyer of the building is left as is, sheets of plywood create walkways on the ground floor, and the walls are often left without touch up. The immensity and transitional qualities of the space are incredibly powerful visually.
The work included is a mix of commissioned, site-specific installations, new works and borrowed works, though it all looks as though it were made specifically for that space. Even the more discrete objects; Ryan McGinley’s photograph of a naked 20-something running through a field for example or Lisa Anne Auerbach’s diptych Things Can Only Get Better/Things Can Only Get Worse make sense in this space. Like the rest of the work in this show, these pieces are about the present.
It’s not all good of course; the painters in particular add virtually nothing to The Station. Devon Costello contributes a number of pieces executed in a faux naive style, all of which are utterly boring and Gardar Eide Einarsson’s spray paint stencil replicating a grate in the wall responds to the office space with complete predictably. But these are small hiccups in an otherwise great show. Rob Pruit’s lit mirrored Tombstone inscribed with Anna Nicole’s signature in lipstick is hilarious, Katie Grinnan provides another highlight with her column like metal diamond sculptures covered in a plastic skin as are Justin Beal’s intuitively connected fabric, mirror and plastic coated wire structures.
Inarguably the Station’s showstopper, Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe’s fake meth lab is amongst the most detailed and labor intensive installations I have seen. Appropriately discrete, but for a small label very little indicates the entry leads to art. The piece demands the curiosity of the viewer. It also requires a strong stomach; the putrid smell emanating from the lab could probably kill small rodents exposed for long durations. Piles of empty Sudafed boxes lay on a table; the kitchen, behind glass, is filled with tubes and containers; and the upstairs is a mess of exposed broken walls, and shelves. Gritty and disheveled it all leads to a balcony with a pristine view of the city. Having spent a week in Miami, I can safely say the cityscape was no prize, it’s beauty now merely representing the same depravity of those that prey off addiction.
Additional photos of the methlab and The Station art work after the jump.
Martha Friedman. A smaller less impressive work inside the containers is for sale at Wall Space. Photo AFC