Where do I begin?
Okay, so I remember last year my first education in the new "gang of cool"-- Banks Violette's opening night at Bortolami Dayan Gallery.
I waded through the sea of Karen O. look-a-likes desperately searching for some air.
No, seriously-- Not only did this humid July night gallery opening reek of body odor, but also the smell of poseur-- As Dolores O'Riordan said so succinctly back in the early '90s... it "lingers," truthfully.
Today, amidst the ranks of the Violettes, Kohs, McGinleys, Snows, et. al, you can really get lost in the glory and glamour of it all.
Youth run amock, making a statement... but just what IS the statement other than pure eye candy?
I have many of the non-art "regular folk" I interact with on a regular basis question my taste in contemporary art.
(for instance, why do I find the "Ellie Fart" image at right to be worthy of posting?)
In fact, just the other day, my darling 19-year-old intern came up to me and said, "I love art. I'm going to own a gallery someday. But I can't stand this whole... 'Let me wipe my ass in some white paint, shit on a canvas, smear it in by rubbing real hard and calling it art.'"
Chick's got quite a point there-- and I don't even think she's seen the Koh exhibit at MoMa.
I also find the whole "collaborative" effort thing to be a bit tired as well as of late.
Something about today's profit-geared system makes partnering with your competition feel forced, as if it's "expected," but something the participants are certainly not enjoying.
And so we come to Kai Althoff and Nick Z.'s takeover of Barbara Gladstone's 24th Street headquarters.
Mind you, Barbara is probably used to it by now, given her regular roster of the cutting-edge.
But this exhibit truly IS all over the place-- literally, and figuratively.
There can be such a thing as "too much."
First, let's start with the floor-- a tacky teal insulation rubber foam that's been brought in and topped at some points with junk throw rugs (yes, the kind you'll find in East New York for sale in exchange for crack money).
Interesting juxtaposition-- sealing the exquisite shiny concrete polished floors with things that are not pretty-- I get it. "Bring in the ugly."
Then, the overly tired references to childhood.
Scattered throughout the gallery are memories of our kid years-- certainly the plasticeen 1980s come to mind-- mini-shopping carts with trikes for the tykes.
Video projects on the walls-- small paintings-- small thoughts-- cartoon objects-- then, at the entrance, the well-made graffiti standard of Nick Z.-- a tag that I'll need for my friend Kezam to decipher.
Well-painted, as a three-dimensional standard tag with the usual blues, greens and purples of eye-catching local art, but having seemingly nothing to do with each other.
If I wanted this, I'd go to 5Pointz in Long Island City any day to see this type of art.
Moving on-- we have our sturdy "fort" built with rubber throway panels, a few broken fans, a tarp of unknown filthy dirty fabric.
Does this illustrate the nature of parental protection-- or is our place to hide from reality of the grown-up world?
Certainly the most striking of all the assembled objects of this show is the broken wall hanging in limbo imagery.
Looking as if Optimus Prime himself came barrelling in unobstructed, this is by far the biggest strength of the exhibit.
It certainly could also reference "Enter Sandman" at any point as well.
All the cutesy "Elliefart" Post-Its in the world can't add up to the power of this single work.
I look at this and I think of the wall as the "establishment", and the artists' breaking down of barriers (what little there are left).
Breathtaking, if you ask me.
Truly, if the pieces in the show would have more storylines connecting them to each other, the exhibit would have been far more powerful.
Unfortunately, this is a Ritalin nightmare waiting to happen.
Just like a play-date that's been extended too long, Ms. Gladstone should have put her foot down at the 25-cent cigarette jar at the assistants' counter and offered Dum-Dums instead.
I also have to say that this exhibit is kind of risk-based, especially if you are one of a clumsy nature.
The lighting is very dark in places, so be careful where you step-- seriously, there's stuff everywhere in parts of the gallery that you least expect to jump over!
Althoff and Z might be "better friends for it," but I don't know how much the gallery workers will be happy with the clean-up of this nightmare.
Gotta love artists.
I'd give you a link, but there aren't any images up on the site right now.
So sue me for using mine.
All images courtesy of Barbara Gladstone Gallery, Chelsea, New York, NY--
Kai Althoff and Nick Z "We are better friends for it."