Russell Nachman: “Apostles, Prophets, and Messiahs” at LMAKprojects

by Paulina Bebecka on May 6, 2011 Reviews

Venue: LMAKprojects139 Eldridge Street
AFC’s Rating: 6/10 (Paulina Bebecka)

Russell Nachman’s “Apostles, Prophets and Messiahs” are halo-wearing fools, faces adorned with corpsepaint, sipping on Budweiser, woozy-eyed and grinning. His series of small watercolors at LMAKprojects evokes illuminated manuscripts, portraying its black metal protagonists as Renaissance holy icons. I like them; Nachman’s a talented craftsman, and his figures are scrupulously drawn. It’s enough to draw one into a closer look at the religious and occultist symbols packed into each drawing, which are forgivably banal. The juxtaposition of the holy and the profane isn’t a new idea, but Nachman knows it: the effect is one of playful dissonance between sainthood and excess, and it doesn’t seem as though there’s any true desire to shock here. Nachman’s used the same approach before, loading detritus from the utopian land of the 1960s with icons and symbols, and while his style hasn’t changed, his disillusionment with the world has clearly deepened. Ultimately, you end up being entertained by the uncomfortable.

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