Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I had planned to zip up to Chelsea before I got my haircut on Saturday, but due to way too much lollygagging I had to change my plans and hit some galleries in SoHo and Tribeca. It was an uneven experience. On the other hand, my haircut totally rules. Johnny is THE MAN.

After The Reality 2 at Deitch's Grand Street space was generally uninteresting, but this sculpture by Enlightenment. (Yes. They call themselves "Enlightenment".) had a presence that held my gaze for an unnaturally long time. I have to say that it was kind of perfect. Somebody should buy it, but not because of what it'll be worth tomorrow. They should buy it because they'll get to see it everyday. I know. Soooooo naive.

Around the corner at Deitch's main space was a group painting show that was refreshing, but unfortunately not because of the work. It was a revelation to see all that white in a space we've gotten so used to being loaded to the gills with art that takes an overwhelming road. (That's not a dis. I generally dig Deitch.) It's just a pity about those paintings. Aaron Young's Clubhouse was mildly interesting for about 15 seconds, but then it just went round and round. His other paintings did the same thing. Dan Colen's 53rd & 3rd (detail above) was the one spectacular exception in the show, even though it looked like caked-on bird shit. But really beautiful, involving caked-on bird shit. Seriously amazing painting. I spent as much time with it as I did all the others combined.

Unrelated to the art, this sentence from the press release should be mentioned just for its entertainment value. "This exhibition shows how today’s abstract painters are updating New York School abstraction with the energy of the streets, and the jam-packed frequencies they dispense." I dare you to read that aloud and keep a straight face.

I never go to Johnny's without stopping at Apex Art. I've found some nice surprises there over the years, but the Dave Eggers-curated exhibit of text-based art was more exhausting than anything. It's quite the feat to have 39 artists in a show and for it to feel so very one-note. It reminded me of a lunch table I sat at for a short period of time in college. From the moment we took our seats everybody tried to outdo each other with their wit and personality. It's exhausting even to remember it. That's what this show feels like. A shame because it's almost all good work, but after seeing the same note hit over and over and over again the shared perspective just feels like a shared noose. Oxygen, please.

I had one last stop to make but I didn't know it. Tune in later to hear how K8 Hardy saved the day.

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