Summer shows are the brunch of the New York art year – leftovers put together by someone else on the cooking line. Not that guest curators haven’t been putting on interesting and imaginative shows with available collections year after year while the regularly scheduled shows take “off”.
In fact the reputation of the mice playing in the gallery while the cats are away in the Hamptons has allowed for looser and wilier events than the marquee fall, winter, and spring shows. But the idea that a summer exhibition is not one of a gallery’s more serious offerings still lingers – in Manhattan. Continue reading →
Wagmag is a non-profit Brooklyn Art Guide that promotes art venues and exhibitions in Brooklyn, including Greenpoint. Tonight is their yearly benefit at The Boiler (191 North 14th) from 7-9pm. Tickets are $20 to attend or $200 to enter the artwork drawing. This is a great chance for collectors to get in on amazing Brooklyn artwork on the major cheap. By donating $200 you are guaranteed artwork. There is a raffle drawing which determines which order ticket holders make their selection. I hope I get to chose first!
There is some amazing artwork in the raffle. My money is on: Ward Shelley, Scott Chasse, Brian Leo, Daniel Zeller, Peggy Cyphers, Mark Masyga, Robert Walden & Lisa Levy.
As a recovering art student I am reticent to even begin this review. My few brief and mostly booze muddled years at the museum school taught me a few things. First, that I am incapable of retaining any information about art history or theory, and second that the combination of vodka and mountain dew does wonderful and terrible things to the body.
This is the review of a layperson, or maybe just a drunk.
There’s my caveat.
Ward Shelley’s Unreliable Narrator exhibit at Pierogi consisted of maybe a dozen paintings; all could be described as text based system diagrams. Each piece teased out minute and often-obscure details of systems from pop cultural groups to North American history to the knock on effects of the industrial revolution.
Example: the interrelated web that ties nerds to geeks to greasers to hipsters to metal-heads all leading back to some pre-human ancestor like Karl Marx.
It was mostly over my head.
That said it was beautiful and informative and I could have easily consumed an infinite supply of their free beer trying to dredge up those neural pathways I carved all those years ago in high school history, civics, or art history class.
From a purely aesthetic standpoint the pieces were exquisite. It was apparent that many hours of thought and planning had gone into the execution, the text being connected by colored pathways that interlaced and crossed and re-crossed tracing ancestry and dependency to create genetic river systems complete with oxbow lakes and dead ends.
The works were simultaneously gorgeous, entertaining, and informative.
Ward Shelley @ Pierogi Unreliable Narrator
17 February – 18 March, 2012
177 North 9th St
The fall season in the front room of Pierogi’s main space opens with flashes of light and smoke – or at least drawings of them. With the gallery’s boiler room annex usually reserved for installation and spectacle, the ninth street location seldom strays from the flat files of the entrance. This is rarely a bad thing and with his solo show, Cloud Wall, Michael Schall needs only illustrate the autumnal burst from drawer to wall.
The series of graphite on paper can be divided into two groups – mysterious and unmanned light sources, and caged cloudbursts. The theme of the Light series seems to be that of luminosity unbound from source, be it artificial or supernatural. The supernatural radiance rises from a Pool of Light (2009) at the foot of a mountain face. With no human presence in the drawing, the glow can rise (unnaturally?) from the pond without witness. Lava Tube, likewise, might just depict a reasonably explained source of glare – in this case, the entrance of a cave seen from within – but with the gallery viewer as the lone attestant, the effect becomes ominous.
Hoover Dam and Eidophusikan both reveal their light source to be synthetic, but again, with no drawn inhabitants, the light can shoot artificially downward or light an empty stage without the need or want of an audience.
It’s important now to remember that these are drawings (don’t forget to save the actual pyrotechnics for the Boiler Room) and that drawing gradations of light across form is fun – and Schall exploits this fun masterfully – but by depicting the illuminated scenarios (how else to show light?) Schall reveals not just loss of control of nature, but a kind of jealousy of nature’s freedom, even when it is manmade.
Michael Schall at Pierogi (191 N. 9th) thru October 9th, 2011
Closed for most of the summer, Pierogi Gallery’s Boiler Space reopened with a show that has the space reflecting outward to space as if in anticipation of the longer, contemplative nights ahead.
For his second solo show there John Stoney has grouped video, sculpture, and pyrographs (burnt wood drawings) for a kind of curio box housing mementos and evidence of our solar system and how earthly materials echo these larger passing orbits.
Videos depicting the “Speed of the Earth” localize views of the moon and night sky from varying northern American vantage points. The gaze skyward here is made specific because the moon passes at different speeds depending on where the viewer is. The biggest screen shows the moon rolling by from the 41st Parallel. In sort of a pre-Galilean standpoint, Stoney has the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn, only in existence from and for the view of the observer.
The three sculptures in the show then become even more subjective and ‘grounding’. Placed at two corners and the center of the large dark room, they make personal objects of even the sky. Corner Piece #2 is a pile of stones collected from upstate New York but here becomes souvenir moonrock.
My Father’s Sky is a wonderfully made diorama of the night sky over water made with fiber optic tubing as a stand in for the stars. The scene is said to be the view from Galveston Texas on October 16, 1965. Is the time and place important for us to know? Not so much as the need to depict and build something for one’s own personal affirmation.
The centerpiece of the show, and perhaps the oddest addition, is Nocturne. A Corinthian column stands twelve feet tall in the center of the room with a woodpecker holding on just below the top uneven portion of the pillar. Made of polymerized gypsum and covered in silver leaf, Nocturne takes the show into surreal narrative. The one “invented” image in the show reinforces the need for tangible and landed reference while going in a different direction. When looking inward and not upward, the artist still has to unify subject with scenario. Could an extinct Ivory Billed Woodpecker claw on to a marble column (never mind peck it’s top part loose)? It could if they were both made from the same stuff.