The Next Two Weeks in Art: Like Drinking So Much You Puke and Then Immediately Going Back to the Bar for More

by Art Fag City on March 3, 2006 Events

Want to see so much art you want to puke? If so, you’re in luck because the ADAA art fair marked the beginning of art madness in the city, so you can totally throw up Barney blue in the space of a few hours if that’s your thing. There will be a run down of events for the upcoming week later in the day, but to start you off, a recap of yesterday’s openings.

Last night’s evening began at Plus Ultra Gallery, which is a great gallery for many reasons, among them because it lacks the usual pretensions of many Chelsea openings. Of course it’s also art blogger central there, which not surprisingly is something AFC enjoys. Currently on display are the wall sculptures of Alois Kronschlager, which reproduce stunningly, and with a few notable exceptions fail to deliver. I really want to like this work because I enjoy Edward Winkleman so much, but there is no getting around the fact that work heavily borrows from Agnes Martin, Frank Stella, and Ricci Albenda, and doesn’t add anything significant to what has already been done by these artists. The press release mentions that the Kronschlager’s work is actually a complex method of recording events, which might be interesting if there was some way of accessing that information visually. Simply being given that information doesn’t add any dimension to the sculptures, since the methods used to record these events appear to be intuitive, somewhat formulaic, and for the most part leaves one wondering what break up caused that what fold.

That said, proving that bigger is better, “Untitled (Repercussions series; beige on beige)” 2006, escapes many of these issues exhibiting an elegance and grace that is less impressive in works on a smaller scale. That particular jpg is not available on the Plus Ultra website, so I have used an alternate piece for publication. It’s sort of too bad, because I really like the large piece, but you work with what you’ve got.

Next door to Plus Ultra, Schroeder Romero was featuring the “shocking” work of Ken Weaver. Utterly devoid of substance, and sporting titles like, “Just Call Me the Queen of the World ‘Cause I Just Got ROYALLY FUCKED!”, these oil pastels are aggressively bad. And boring. Finally an opening served a greater good, and prevented me from seeing too much of the work.

The majority of my gallery walk was followed up by a number openings that ranged from forgetable to something else I can’t remember. Across from Yossi Milo gallery, I briefly attended the Hope Atherton opening at Bortolami Dayan. These Richter inspired paintings of blurry photographs look nice but are nothing we haven’t seen before. I read this morning that Bortolami Dayan is owned by an ex Gagosian director, which would explain why I found the environment intensely nauseating. There can be no better indication that there is an issue of scenesterism at an opening when there are no less than 20 overly coiffed people outside the gallery all on their cell phones. The most interesting thing in the gallery was the dog, and even he seemed to know there were better things to do.

The last notable gallery I stopped by was Yossi Milo Gallery, which has an excellent show of photos and sculptures by Simen Johan. Simen Johan’s brilliantly titled exhibition Until the Kingdom Comes, features an array of digitally manipulated images of animals with various hair weaves, poodle cuts, and tail add ons.

I imagine that the artist is responsible a quarter of ebay’s earnings off taxidermy sales, as the photographs often use these props as subject matter, (the lama is the real thing though and is neither digitally manipulated or taxidermidied). The most interesting aspect of this work is the way in which these animals have been domesticated or personified in some way. Johan playfully points out our desire to make pets out of virtually any animal we see, and manages to anthropormize even the stone mammoth. It’s also great to see work that is personal and emotional for a change in a feild that is so frequently defined by cold manipulation of pixels. As humorous as these photographs are, there is an inevitable element of darkness to the subject matter of mortality that adds a sad sentimentality to the work. And so, congratulations has to be offered to any artist who manages to use evoke that word without making AFC puke. I guess that will come later on in the week after we’ve all seen more work than our minds can possibly process.

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