Luhring Augustine, 25 Knickerbocker Ave.
(Through 6/16) Atlas, Kahrs, Mucha, Whiteread
What’s on view: Blue chip art that’d look at home in Chelsea
Corinna Kirsch: Square things. No, really, all the works in this show tend to be angular, and they have a reduced color palette. It makes me think the show must’ve been put together by someone with an eye for design more than anything else.
Paddy Johnson: For those who haven’t been, this space is pretty much indistinguishable from any other Chelsea location, except that the staff are actually friendly. That’s crazy. Just before I left, the two gallery attendants complained that they felt disoriented thanks to the ambient sound coming from the Atlas work; it was exactly like the street sounds that crept in through the door.
I don’t have an awful lot to say about this show. We talked about Reinhard Mucha’s work the most, but that might just be because we were standing in front of it. The piece identifies fields of pearl paint in the city, but we initially thought it was labeling the famed art supply store by the same name. Thrilling, I know.
Adrian Chen: Mucha’s work was cool, but mainly it was nice to be in a big clean space after wandering around the warrens in the previous galleries. Art smells weird.
Fuchs Projects, 56 Bogart Street
(Closed March 3rd) Photographs by Petros Chrisostomou
What’s on view: Real life hair, shoes, and fungus photographed in palatial interiors
Whitney Kimball: Welp, that about sums it up.
Paddy: These photographs are actually miniatures. Knowing that a deceptive scale shift is at work doesn’t change what this work has to say though, which may be nothing.
Interstate Projects, 66 Knickerbocker Ave.
(Through 3/17) Rachel de Joode: The Hole and The Lump
What’s on view: Lumpy clay textures printed on various flat surfaces and a room full of pink, homemade Play-Doh
Corinna: I’ve been following Rachel’s work online for a while, so I’d come into the show expecting to like it. I did.
Her work’s become more focused over the last few years, which is a good thing. There’s only so far you can go with fairly random object-pairings in a neo-classical bent. One element that’s stayed the same over time is her interest in the sculpture, bridging the 3-D/2-D divide. That makes sense with a lot of artists making work online and offline; trying to bring out the similarities and differences between the flat and the modelled.
Anyway, I love de Joode’s trompe l’oeils because she really gets sculpture. Sculpture’s supposed to be something that transforms as you move around it in space—at least the Modernist conception thereof—and and her pink, thumb-printed hybrids really force you to look up-close, far away, in the front, and behind. That’s an accomplishment.
Whitney: I see this formica-style digital putty in almost every show that translates an idea from the screen these days. People like Korakrit Arunanondchai, Letha Wilson (kinda), particularly Travess Smalley and Kate Steciw– the sensibility seems to be a common theme at galleries like Foxy Production, Ramiken Crucible, and Regina Rex. I think it has something to do with wishing you could hold a GIF. de Joode (who’s from Berlin, this is her first show in the States) does a beautiful job of this, but the genre is pretty saturated.
Adrian: This was definitely my favorite of all the things we saw. The play Corinna noted between 2-D and 3-D was great, but there was something more than just optical illusion going on. Walking into the gallery you were immediately confronted with what appeared to be a coral reef. Everything said gritty, sharp and solid. It was almost menacing. The blobby tromp l’oeils are literally on pedestals, like marble busts. Of course on closer inspection it was all flat and printed on wood and paper. I gather from Whitney this is a rather tired technique in art. But de Joode not only masters it, she hilariously acknowledges whatever may be its weaknesses. This comes from my favorite bit, a small tableau in the corner that was easily missed: There’s a photo of two figures draped in colorful blankets that had been printed to look like textured clay (the same ones that were hanging on the wall in the gallery). The strange, colorful picture is crushed awkwardly between two plain cement cinder blocks. They seemed to have fallen from the ceiling, harsh reality crashing in on the art: “You think you’re clever? Here’s what real stone can do.” *smash* Rock beats paper in the real world.
Storefront Bushwick, 16 Wilson Ave.
(Through 3/10) fiction / non-fiction
What’s on view: A group show of whimsical portraits, fairytale landscapes, and household still lifes, all dealing with narrative elements to some degree.
Paddy: The huge range of quality between the works on view does this show no favors. On the one hand you have the fairytale landscapes by Jaclyn Brown, whose wispy brush marks create the kind of wimpy, unrendered lawns that make me crazy. Susan Homer’s birds on teapots aren’t anything other than decorative either, so that’s two painters who get the thumbs down from me.
On the other hand though, the strangeness of Holly Coulis cub monster behind the dude in a hunting jacket lends it a Wes Anderson feel and Rebecca Lit’s painting of the tarp over only gets better upon close inspection. I liked that painting for similar reasons as I enjoyed the dog grid at NURTUREart: It unexpectedly flits into abstraction. In both cases, I think the gesture works.
Whitney: Interesting, I had the exact opposite reaction. I thought Jaclyn Brown’s felt less stiff than the others, which seemed to be trying to fulfill some conceptual chore that doesn’t really strengthen the work but makes it defensible as non-illustration. I’d rather just see someone go all out and make lions fucking in a wonderland.
Paddy: I’m reconsidering my initial thoughts on the abstract work based on your comments; you make a good point. I suppose I should point out that we’re talking about strengths in a collection of work that isn’t strong to begin with.