It all started with Frida and Diego, Burton and Taylor, Lee Miller and Man Ray. Artists influence each other, destroy each other, love passionately. Out of all this, creating is born. Partners in crime. Partners in life. Dali signed his paintings with his and his beloved’s name. It is said that she saved him from his own misery, “it is mostly with your blood, Gala, that I paint my pictures.” That’s what immediately came to mind when I saw the The Front Room Gallery group show “Summer Love”—a sudden, sensual, and very intimate feeling. Butterflies or maybe cramps, soft knees and sweaty lips, blurred vision & intoxication.
“Summer Love” started with an engagement. No, that’s not right. Go back. It started with falling in love. Not yet. Go back. It started with birth. It always starts like that. And then there was art, the first meeting, the second kiss, commitment, plans…all like a fast train. And, finally, the idea occurred when Julia Whitney Barnes, the wonderful curator of this show, was preparing for her big day with fellow artist Sean Hemmerle. Realizing how many married, artist couples were on their wedding list, she came up with a task for them: each couple had to present one collaborative piece or choose a piece that would represent their partner.
One of my favorite installations was a “collage of love” (as I’d call it) by Ursula Weissmüller and Robert Ortega, which gathers together a decade of the couple’s passion for each other and the art of paper in the form of love letters and drawings. Another standout was Brazilian-born, American artist Cibele Vieira‘s photograph and accompanying affidavit from her on-going “Single and Looking For” project. Vieira herself notarized a sworn statement from the declarant that his “next partner will have the 5 following characteristics.” The handwritten work is ironic, touching, and honest.
The Front Room Gallery (147 Roebling Street in Williamsburg) is an intimate and welcoming space, hosting a great, refreshing, summery treat that is this exhibition. On view now until August 24th. Go and see. Fall in love. It’s summertime.