Saturday I made a pretty full stomping through Chelsea to catch what I missed at the opening frenzy. I was pleased to see that even though the impression I got from the super-Thursday of openings was that everyone was bringing out their most salable schlock, a broader search turned up some interesting work…and, of course, some schlock.
I started out on 26th st for Rock N Roll Fantasy staring Jeremy Earhart at White Box. I say staring Earhart because his two sculptures were clearly the stand-out pieces from the group. White Box obviously understood this also, as his work was on the postcard and in the front window.
Jean-Pierre Roy’s “Landmarks” show at RARE was recommended by my friend Billy Maker. I’ve wanted to make those paintings since I was 13. He rocked them and we liked them. The back room installation made me yawn.
I was really disappointed by the show at Feature, Inc. It’s not that I expected more, but the whole thing just felt wafer thin. I still think they’re one of my favorite galleries.
A surprising gem was “I AM AS YOU WILL BE: The Skeleton in Art” at Cheim & Read. Cheim & Read seems to either really hit an interesting moment or completely bore me (to death), with little in between. I think this was a highlight. someone did point out that it would have been a bit more timely to show it two years ago, but I think it works none-the-less.
Moving down to 24th st, I found Adam Helms: Hinterland a solid first NY solo show. Yes, the taxidermy buffalo is cool. Yes, I liked the prints. Yes, I am jealous. Marianne Boesky’s new space=Wayne’s new favorite gallery.
On 23rd st, Steven Bush’s paintings at Goff + Rosenthal were…(to borrow a phrase from my friend John Bauer) boss. In pushing his work on the balance of “Wow, this is amazing” vs. “Wow, this is so bad,” I think Bush’s paintings are amazing. Anyone (including myself) trying to get away with sloppy ab-exy “Brooklyn aesthetic” gets slapped down hard by these. Bush has been working on his technically impressive style long enough that these new compositions are clearly balanced, well developed and solid. He knows what he’s doing and it shows. Goff + Rosenthal is emerging as a new and very solid gallery – especially since adding Jeremy Earhart to their roster.
I was kind of psyched to see Ugo Rondinone’s “Big Mind Sky” show at Matthew Marks on 22nd st. When I first walked in, I was kind of disappointed and then really warmed up to it.
Sikkema Jenkins & Co (another new favorite of mine since their make-over) has a solid show by Jan Henle that I think is incorrectly installed. I was ready to just breeze through and dismiss the black and white landscape photographs but wandered into the room where the video was running and proceeded to be mesmerized until it was over. The video was incredibly beautiful and pulled off what the photographs didn’t come close to. I think Sikkema Jenkins & Co should have installed the show to emphasize the video over the photography instead of making it a seemingly side-note. I would recommend anyone interested in film or video to see this piece. It brought to mind some of the more striking visual moments of a Herzog film.
The Ryan Trecartin show at Elizabeth Dee was maybe the worst thing I’ve seen in years and made me want to…(insert juvenile poo joke). Maybe my extreme visceral dislike is a positive thing. I don’t think so.
Eddo Stern’s show at Postmasters r0kd da hiz0uzzz. Postmasters has consistently lead the pack in showing technology-influenced art that balances it’s aesthetic and conceptual rigor. Stern’s addressing of WoW culture and religion is hilarious, scary and fascinating. He gets a +10 to make me work harder. I remember seeing his last show at Postmasters and thinking that only a few people really used technology as well as he did then. It makes sense that he’s working at Cal Arts now.
Last but not least on my Chelsea tour was the Raymond Pettibon show at David Zwirner titled, “Here’s your irony back (the big picture)”. Well, here’s to Raymond Pettibon being back in the limelight with a solid show. Even though I still don’t have the patience to read every line or caption of his bajillion piece installation, it was interesting to see his take on the Iraq issue…not that it wasn’t what you’d expect.
At the same time, Chris Ofili had a show in the other Zwirner space. It fell flat like this review of it. I kind of liked the sculptures and I didn’t like the paintings. I think Ofili had something going for him from the Sensations days and this wasn’t it.
Speaking of boss, I need to see the Richard Prince show like you know you want to.