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.
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
17 February – 18 March, 2012
177 North 9th St