Glen Fogel, I feel something unspoken between us
February 24th – March 31st
Callicoon Fine Arts, 124 Forsyth Street
What’s on view: Up-close portraits of a shirtless young man and an electronic-powered, spinning sculpture
Paddy Johnson: Glen Fogel’s work makes me feel a little guilty about my job. What kind of privilege must I have to get paid to watch things spin? My background is a little different than most, but I suspect the frivolity that induced such discomfort is part of the point. Fogel also produced a large scale multi-screen installation with diamond rings I saw the Moving Image Fair two years ago and I felt icky then, too.
I like looking at this piece better on vine than I do in person because it removes some of that guilt. A spinning thing on your phone is sized small and priced at free, which seems a little more in line with the value of that experience.
Corinna Kirsch: I thought it was a nice-looking wind tunnel. We were talking about this in the gallery, but Glen Fogel has got to get better at integrating the backstory of a work with the works on-view. There tends to be some sort of romantic story or identity issues informing his work, but you’d never know it unless, in our case, the dealer tells you about it.
Mia Taylor: Major Flow Chartlate
March 3rd – April 13th
Toomer Labzda, 100A Forsyth Street
What’s on view: Plastic templates with cut-out shapes, tie-dyed canvas reliefs
Whitney Kimball: I wonder if Mia Taylor knows the emerging painter E.E. Ikeler. Her “punch tape repeater” looks a lot like Ikeler’s “Mesh Mediation.”
Anyway, this was one of the better shows I’ve seen at Toomer Labzda. It seems to take some of the ideas posited in “dirty windows” (paintings that look like dirty windows) one step further with framing devices that come from and extend into the world (especially this little triangle hung next to wall outlets). Still, with just framing and surface, it feels like a study in the work’s shell, without much of the meat. I’m biased, I always want painting to talk about more than just the mechanics of painting.
Corinna: I appreciated seeing the templates for the reliefs and sculptures out in the open. It makes Taylor’s process seem like a loosey-goosey game that anyone can play. I imagine she could make a template like hers and sell it to kids, or anyone else, as a “make an art” kit.
The Handler of Gravity, March 3rd – April 21st
Essex Street, 114 Eldridge Street
(Show includes artists: Juliette Blightman, Marcel Broodthaers, Marcel Duchamp, Nina Koennemann, Valerie Snobeck and Lucie Stahl)
What’s on view: A toilet with a tree inside the bowl, photographs of vegetables, and a nude descending a staircase print.
Paddy Johnson: I haven’t been able to figure out the conceit behind this exhibition and the press release doesn’t help. An excerpt, “Beneath the horizon, a chariot or sleigh, a watermill, a small gear engaged with a large wheel, a trap-door to the basement, a pulley. Not shown: the revolution of the bottle Benedictine, And Sandow. A blown-out kinetoscopic vision of mustachioed Prussian Bodybuilder Eugene Sandow performing his stunted dance—flexing, swelling and preening—is not shown.”
I assume there’s some connection between the text and the show, but what Juliette Blightman’s tree in a toilet has to do with Eugene Sandow isn’t immediately clear. What a tree in a toilet has to do with the reproduction Marcel Duchamp’s nude descending a staircase also isn’t clear. Basically, I have nothing to say about this show, because I can’t figure out what it’s trying to communicate.
February 15th – March 31st
Klaus Von Nichtssagend, 54 Ludlow Street
What’s on view: Abstracted video game spaces containing spinning shell-like shapes. In the back, Ludy’s photos of objects in people’s Second Life homes
Whitney Kimball: I came to this show three times because I found it so interesting. The whole show made me think of the feeling of pushing up against the edges of space in an N64 game, falling off an edge, or finding a seam where the walls don’t really line up.
Ludy makes video game space against a gray void, roughly bounded by wall planes. The floating orbs are photos of terrain, made 3D and wrapped around a center axis, spinning into themselves. The walls spin around the orbs, though you never see a camera; it’s like spinning through infinite mirrors, but not having a reflection. It comes with a generic video game hum, with tone changes when the space changes, evoking a level-up.
It’s weird that, in a space where anything is possible, the instinct is to limit it with time and space. The same goes for the photos in the back room of a bouquet of flowers and a vase from houses Ludy “haunted” in second life. The rudimentary flowers and vase try to replicate real life– it’s both really cold and sweetly pathological. I enjoyed thinking about the weird disembodiment of the viewer in a videogame, imagining other people catching Ludy in their second homes and realizing that she’s also a part of the landscape.
Corinna: The premise of Ludy’s “Spheres 1-20” sounds like a let down: it’s a video of 20 different shapes floating through mazes, like an exercise in all the types of spheres you can make. If there’s only 20 possible combinations, that’s not so awesome. Thankfully, as we know from Whitney, the video is way more interesting than the exercise itself.
The orbs were full of inward motion, spinning, deflating, or looking like they were eating themselves. All those motions are difficult to capture, but Ludy did, finding a home for that range.
So much gyrating made the orbs look like cocoons, ready to give birth at any moment. What do I think of when I think of cocoons? Butterflies, yes, but also sci-fi. Just think of all the sci-fi worlds where people are born in floating pods. Given that association, Ludy’s orbs have some human-ness. Whatever makes geometry more lively, that works for me.
Ryan Humphrey, Criminal Minded
March 15th – May 12th
DCKT Contemporary, 21 Orchard Street
What’s on view: Coke cans wrapped around walking canes, torn up police tape, and a punk-studded Chanel bag
Corinna: Heavy-handed? When I see canes covered in old generation Coke cans, I’m not sure what’s the joke and what’s the critique.
Paddy: This show might have come dangerously close to landing on our skip list were it not for sheer volume of stuff Humphrey manages to collect. That, at least, is impressive. What he does with it, not so much. The gallery is filled with bric-a-brac; a bow made out of skis, an eye rolling assemblage of signs he’s made that read: “Tittie Fuck The Police”, and a collection of bike locks on a freestanding, gold-leafed bike lock sized up to 8 times its regular size. I liked the bow because it required some enginuity to conceive and construct, but a lot of the work didn’t add much to the source material. The most complex message that comes from this show a mix of “fuck the man” and “galleries make cheap stuff, expensive”.