Saturday, October 06, 2007
Punishment or Luxury?
The thrill isn't gone, but . . . I was a little disappointed in the Ryan McGinness show at the new Pace Prints in Chelsea. Look. I'm a huge fan of both McGinness and Pace Prints. The latter's space on 57th street is one of the most rich and welcoming art experiences you can have in this city. The new space looks great, and they've maintained some of the uptown space's intimacy by their decision NOT to be street level. McGinness' art is as generous as ever, but there's a certain inconsistency in it that pushed me away at times. Sometimes it was colors. Sometimes it was the textures. Let me clear though, this is by no means a bad show. It's quite good in fact, and you should see it. But like I said, but . . .
But . . . THIS is why we're really here! Love, baby. The thrills came in waves when I went to Abe Lincoln, Jr.'s Punishment or Luxury? that opened at My Plastic Heart last night. I wasn't familiar with this artist's work at all before this. (Thank you, Bivs!) I tend to steer clear of the whole toy robot/figure/street art thing only because it seems so overwhelming. (Kind of like The Fall catalogue. Again, thank you, Bivs!) This is what friends are for, kids: guidance.
Look. Any art I've ever encountered that included a reference to Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow has been a winner. Punishment or Luxury? is no exception to this rule. It's like what Pete Townsend said about rock 'n' roll. It might only be 4/4 time, but it's what you do within that structure that counts. Well, what AL, Jr. does within the structure of such a seemingly well-defined genre is what counts. It's the way he pushes at the edges of it with his dirty/clean birdy poo. It's what he chooses to frame within the context of his own forms. This is where I found the unholy trinity of Judas Priest, Venom, and the aforementioned Rainbow bursting out of the heart of one of his characters. (Pictures to come.) That is what brought me in. That is what led me to the rest of the work in this show. That is what threw the McGinness show into such sharp contrast. Don't even think of missing the vicious and tender heart of this show.