Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Somebody Save Me.

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 CĂ©leste 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.


Mark Barry said...

Suits of meat....yumm. How about Huey at Feigen, Richie at Rosen, Boursier-Mougenot at cooper is cool.

Heart As Arena said...

Yeah. I was underwhelmed by the Huey. And not only was I underwhelmed by the Richie, but there was a line to see the special part. Sorry. No thanks. I am, however, very much looking forward to the Boursier-Mougenot. That one I missed.

ZS said...

To quote Mr. Costello, (I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea. Good LORD, it's torture there sometimes. I am a big fan of Zhang Huan and I really want to see that show but I might have to avoid that area all together.

PS. I love Brent. When are you coming down here?

JD said...

The Boursier-Mougenot is great, really creepy and beautiful. The Wendy White rocks. The Albert Oehlen is fantastic, as always, IMO. Check out a relatively unknown, midcareer painter, Francis Barth, at Sundaram Tagore Gallery (547 West 27th St.).

Most of the rest has congealed into a gluey mass of nothingness in my memory.

Weirdly, Bellwether was "closed for cleaning" when we went, midday on a Thursday.

Heart As Arena said...

Yeah, ZS. It hurt bad. Like, Hammer Smashed Face bad. (Always a bad sign when art makes you feel like a Cannibal Corpse song.) 27th Street is a blast though. And oh, that Zhang Huan. And there are a lot of people excited about the Wendy White show which doesn't surprise me. I really like what I've seen so far. When am I coming to Philly? As soon as I can get my ass down there. I've been jonesin' for a while now, but after reading Roberta's wonderful piece in Art Review I want to be there, like, yesterday. And speaking of which . . . YOU with your Phillies shirt. Totally rockin'.

And JD. Thanks for the tips. I was able to see/hear the Boursier-Mougenout yesterday and it was indeed GREAT. And yeah. Bellwether should be closed for a cleaning alright. When are they going to have another good show for God's sake? Jesus.

JD said...

heh heh! I'm picturing, maybe, 360 degrees of green vomit needing to be wiped up.