Art Fag City at The L Magazine: An Orchard Street Summer

by Paddy Johnson on July 20, 2011 The L Magazine

Photograph from Barbara DeGenevieve's "Panhandler Project" at On Stellar Rays

Orchard Street is offering two of the summer’s many artist-curated group shows on the Lower East Side. Rachel Uffner Gallery‘s Summer Whites is all white, and On Stellar Rays‘ Inti is a selection of politically and bodily-themed works curated by Clifford Owens. Here’s an excerpt from my review at The L Magazine:

I spent the most time with Barbara DeGenevieve‘s “Panhandler Project” [at On Stellar Rays], in which she paid homeless men to pose nude in hotel rooms for her camera. It may be impossible to communicate why this project works: the photographs aren’t very interesting, and describing DeGenevieve’s interactions with the men, captured on video, makes the piece sound like problematic do-goodie social work. That discussion actually occurs on tape, one model jumping out of bed, angry at the notion that anyone call him exploited. As they talk, though, an untreated hernia poking through his belly becomes exposed, a healthcare issue no one had mentioned. All I could think about was how even when plainly exposed, we don’t talk about the most visible and pressing problems.

I mentioned this to On Stellar Rays owner Candice Madey who admitted she found the video very difficult and had previously only shown the photographs. “Well, this is what artists are for,” I told her, knowing that without Owens’ provocation, this work would not have been shown.

To read the full piece, click here.

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