Let's start with a qualifier. Everything I'm about to say doesn't apply to the galleries on 27th Street between 10th and 11th. I visited there a couple weeks ago and it's a pretty thrilling block this month. Excellent shows at Winkleman Plus Ultra, John Connelly, Foxy Production, and Derek Keller. There's plenty of fun to be had in other galleries on that block as well.
Outside of that block though . . . ouch. Saturday was one of the most disheartening days I've spent in Chelsea in a long, long time. Even the freskers seemed bored and more aloof than usual. There were a couple shows and moments that turned my crank, but overall? Nothing but pain.
Some of the crank turners:
Karen Kliminik confounded me at 303, and I liked it. Work that pushes me this far into the, um, unsure is doing something right. Even if I don't know what the hell it is.
In their references to both football and classicism, Chie Fueki's paintings at Mary Boone reminded me of the James Wright stanza, "Therefore,/Their sons grow suicidally beautiful/At the beginning of October,/And gallop terribly against each other's bodies." However, what really sent me over the edge at Boone was the luminous Eric Freeman painting in the back. I really can't get enough of his work. Nothing revolutionary, but so what. Pure pleasure.
Across the street at DCKT is a fresh shot of perspective-bashing serious/comic art brought to us by castaneda/reiman. First of all, I love pallets. (Long story.) That's pallets, not palettes. That they were used as a homophonic pun in this show made me quite happy. It made me even happier when I noticed that the gallery had misspelled the word on their website. It might or might not have been intentional. This show gave me a sense of place and time with the same effectiveness as Charlotta Westergren's unforgettable fragrance and light installation at Bellwether in March.
So, OK. I did see one amazing show in Chelsea. It's the Zhang Huan at Max Lang. This nutbag genius treated me to one of the most fucked up and beautiful things I've ever seen in my life, and I've never forgiven him for it. This show of photographs, works on paper, sculpture and video is more of the same sharp, incisive excess. I feel nothing less than awe when I'm in front of Huan's work. This is the stuff. Suits of meat for all!
OK. So, let's end with a qualifier too. There were a number of shows in Chelsea that I haven't seen (Wendy White and Céleste Boursier-Mougenot to name two.), but it's a bad indicator that I was bored out of my mind for so much of the time on Saturday. It might have been the allergy medicine that was pulling me down, but I don't think so. I'm hoping for a less Hoover-like month in October. Please, dear Lord. Please.