Roe Ethridge at Andrew Kreps Gallery
February 22 – March 29, 2014
Nobody makes dried ramen look as good as Roe Ethridge. It’s the first work you’ll see in an exhibition of 16 photographs, and probably the most arty of the lot. Double Ramen formed from two close-up shots, seamed together in the middle to form a perfect ramen rectangle. Other food shots include a jam jar lid that looks like it’s floating due to the severe overhead angle of the camera shot, and two pieces of marbled brown flounder on an actual marble table.
All this is interspersed with images of models, brands, and shots that look like stills from movies. Ethridge says he wants his images to function like a fugue, a medical condition in which a person is prone to a type of long-term amnesia, where you wake up and don’t know where you are. That’s basically how this show works; as a viewer you feel a sense of deja vu and that’s often because you are looking at things twice. Whether that means decontextualized ad campaigns, or simply images shot twice at slightly different angles, the end result is a vague sense of disorientation. Two near identical images of a woman in front of background of football logos that face each other on opposing walls of the gallery are a good example of this, and they are just one of many.
Re-View: Onnasch Collection at Hauser & Wirth
7 February – 12 April 2014
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a Barnett Newman zip painting that’s better than the one currently on view at Hauser & Wirth. The teal blue and brown hum together, and next to the ultramarine blue Clyfford Still, the piece just sings.
That’s the kind of formalist praise I usually like to avoid—talking about what something looks like isn’t proof of its merit—but in an exhibition showcasing an extraordinary collection of work meant to be evaluated on those terms, the language makes sense. The show is based on the collection of Reinhard Onnasch (though, like several other works in the exhibition, this particular painting isn’t part of the collection), and unlike New York Museums, art lovers can visit the gallery without having to pay an admission fee. Former MOCA Curator, now Hauser & Wirth partner, Paul Schimmel curated the exhibition.
There isn’t a lot of weakness to this show, but it’s at least worth observing that the strongest works on view are placed up front. Those include Robert Rauschenberg’s “Pilgrim,” an abstract expressionist-type canvas in pastels and black with a strip of paint that extends over a chair in front, and of course, the bold Stills in the front room. Those pack a punch for size and grand gestural mark making alone.
A room of flimsy wall-mounted assemblages by Richard Tuttle is duly relegated to the back, but other than that, there’s nothing to do with this show other than to gush about it. Even the Jim Dine, who I typically associate with his factory-like production of cheese ball bathrobes, delivered with a gross-looking painting filled with brown globby hairs. After looking at it for a while, I realized the painting was hilariously depicting man’s overgrown chest.