ji at Pierogi
While the weather may be getting nicer outside, I am not.
This month I've decided to set the Greenberg aside and give
each show a beer rating.
That's right, can, bottle, draft, or plastic cup. I have
a spectacular hangover at the moment, and I've been drooling
on the keyboard when I periodically pass out trying to think
of something 'witty' to say. Anyway, the beer rating has
to be looked at carefully, as I've put about five seconds
of thought into each one. If this column stops halfway through,
it's because all this talk of beer forced me to abscond
to a bar and get loaded.
Eat me, at 65 Hope Street sounds awful when I read the
press release. I was like "fuck you too" and almost
skipped it, but I said what the hell and hiked those stairs.
I'm glad there's a fence on those stairs, I get terrible
vertigo when I'm hungover, which is the case most weekends,
and Fridays, er, well just not Wednesdays. I mean who drinks
on Tuesday. Only losers go out on Tuesday.
Anyway, inside the groups show is not that bad. I mean,
I can't remember half of what I saw, but I was particularly
fond of Vandana Jain's corporate logo mandalas. They managed
to be pretty and smart. I stood stupidly transfixed in front
of Ariadna Capasso and Damian Keller's too long video, "La
Conquistador". The montage of a female body, the sky,
the earth, and religious iconography started slow, but had
a weird hypnotic effect on me. There are several lyrical
passages throughout, although it just kept going and going,
and I don't think it was on a loop. Ultimately, I understood
the artists had issues with Catholicism, corn, water, and
tight spaces. I don't think I could deconstruct much more
than that. Also, someone had girls mail them their used
panties, all displayed in these little boxes with documentation.
Ofer Wolberger's large color photos of a trash ring and
some sad looking suburban houses reminded me of why I left
southern New Jersey for the big city.
The only thing that really annoyed me were the junior Feminist
posters by Melissa Potter. The series, Price per Fuck, is
overly simplistic, kinda like my writing, but I think her
critique of marriage/materialism/gender equity has the moralistic
tone of undergraduate who just finished her feminist primer.
Seriously, they are pretty silly and even Barbra Krueger
has at least started making videos. Aside from Potter's
cookie cutter critique, the show actually had some interesting
takes on consumption. The thing that bothers me about the
gallery in general is the sense that the shows feel like
assignments every month. Like this month, we've invited
people to make art about Russian dolls or this month we've
asked our buddies to make art about recycling. It's getting
kinda annoying, like someone is fulfilling requirements
for a class.
Eat me tastes sort of like a slightly skunked Heineken.
Through May 9th.
Around the corner at Dam Stuhltrager, Chris Dam has some
funky paintings that look kind of like alien heads or something
in his show Snap. I know they are abstractions, but I really
didn't get too caught up in the formal qualities of the
small and sometimes shaped canvases. The whole show has
this weird 70's alien vibe that I can't quite place. The
colorful canvases are generally dominated by slightly warped
central squares, and the surrounding compositions grow organically
around the lumpy shapes. I got all paranoid though, because
I kept feeling like these things were watching me. I really
dug the odd framing devices Dam chose for some of the segments
of the exhibit. I also figured out that Dam is also the
owner of the quirky space, which kind of made sense. I wonder
if he likes paintings of circles, cause I've got a studio
full of them.
Snap is cold bottle of Magic Hat #9 and runs through
I stumbled over to Plus Ultra, cursing the day I first
drank beer. My hangover was making me feel especially sensitive
and when I encountered Jennifer Dalton's cringe inducing
installation, "Getting to Know the Neighbors",
I felt like killing myself right there in the gallery. Snaking
through the space accordian style, Dalton's photographic
book documents all of the EPA environmental violators in
Williamsburg from the eastside to Greenpoint with a cold,
cold eye. I shuffled through in horror, seeing familiar
place after place. Then, I said, maybe I should probably
stop smoking, drinking, and eating crappy food and move
out to Timbuktu and grow my own organic produce. Nah, but
Dalton's project is a public service project and someone
from that hippy rag the Brooklyn Rail should do a long follow
up. They'd probably win a Pulitzer this neighborhood is
such as cancer time bomb.
"Getting to Know the Neighbors" is nothing
like beer, its AA. Through May 24th.
I walked speedily away from Plus Ultra, trying in vain to
leave my conscience there towards Parker's Box. I couldn't
quite make it without dodging into Iona to ease my hangover
a bit. After a little primer, I headed into Tim Laun's funny
show about the Greenbay Packers and Bret Favre. Flanking
the main space are black and white portraits of the 50's
and 90's championship squads. The racial difference between
the squads says a lot about America, but it's not just a
critique of race. The players' have been supersized making
the 50's squad look like a bunch of girlscouts. Football
has definitely changed. The players are becoming mutants.
Laun also has the ultimate shrine to Bret Farve planned
that only a cheesehead could truly understand. I mean I
like football, you know, beer, wings, pizza, but 250 monitors
simultaneously playing every game Farve played in? The small
installation proposal is so absurdly serious that it should
probably happen. Laun also has a big color print that envisions
what his Favre-o-rama would look like. In the back space,
there are two monumental black and white Packers. The whole
exhibit feels like Laun's attempt to build a monument to
football that will rival the spectacle itself, which is
no small feat. I fear that hipsters will be like "eeew!,
football, that's so redneck" and critics will be like
"This isn't serious enough for me, Jerry Asphalt, paint
lover." The show is definitely about football, there's
no end around that one, but Laun's sincere expression is
clearly evident. It's just so goddamned strange and unpretentious
that it works wonderfully.
Tim Laun's solo show is a Stadium cup of Budwieser. Through
After seeing a big ole dose of Americana, I wandered down
to Roebling Hall where I ran into Eve Sussman's "Inside
89 Seconds at Alcazar". Now, I'd seen the aforementioned
video at the dreaded Biennial, but this was a head scratcher.
A show about a show? Well, it's a collection of elegant
photos, a rather oblique documentary about the production
of her Whitney piece, and some slomo LCD panel videos. Basicaly,
it's like getting a DVD of your favorite film, but only
being able to access the supporting Bonus material. I just
found myself wanting to see the video again. Anyway, Sussman
is going big time and it's time to get on board, right?
"inside 89 Seconds at Alcazar" is an Amstel Light.
Has anyone actually ever been to the WAH Center?
I made the fatal mistake of going to 31 grand again, even
though at this point I should know better. The image they
mailed looked quite promising, like some weird sci-fi craziness.
Instead, they pull a bait and switch, substituting crappy
photo based paintings of mice for imagination. These are
so bad they make Tim Wilson look like Picasso.
"Before the Accident" is a warm cup of Golden
Anniversary. It's just making teenagers sick through may
Again, I had to stop in the middle of Grand Street and
ask myself "Why?"
I walked through the toxic wasteland that is sometimes
called a waterfront down to N 9th and up to Priska C. Juschka.
Thank god, the C doesn't stand for crap this month. Daniel
Mirer's modestly sized c-prints buck the trend of being
big and German. The photographs examine the internal and
external structures of stadiums, colleges, and office buildings.
Everything is receding and halting in Mirer's work, investing
them with a formal tension. These are actually quite lovely
Modernist photographs of Modernity, the relentless partitioning
of space into more and more complex consumer quadrants.
Mirer's body of work also feel peculiarly American, something
Tim Laun's show got me thinking about. Usually, I see formal
color photo these days, and I just go on autopilot to Berlin.
Daniel Mirer's show is a Sam Adams. Through May 15th.
In the second space at Priska, Rachael Selekman has some
polite works on paper that are like whispered fairy tales
and some are just too damn sappy.
A can of Coors Cutter. Through May 15th as well.
I stopped in Mugs for a beer, I was feeling a bit better,
and made my way to Pierogi. So, Joe's got a piece at the
Brooklyn Show. What a mess that is. His fairly cool sign
structure is lost in some hellish furniture exhibit. Anyway,
I go inside and have an immediate allergic reaction to the
immediate wall texts accompanying the work of Yun-Fie Ji.
Ji's show is arguably the best in Brooklyn, yet I was amazed
at how stupid and redundant the wall texts where. Just because
someone writes a catalogue for your show, doesn't mean it
needs to be hung next to each piece. They, by the way, are
excellent ink and pencil drawings creating a contemporary
image of China through a historical lens. Ji's landscapes
are populated by an array of human and not-so human characters,
creating broad social narratives. Ji's touch is undeniable,
and his small works on paper in the back focus on his drawing.
"Empty City" works because despite its' immediately
'serious' appearance, it has a nasty and wonderful subversive
streak. You really have to just look and look and the artist
gives you ample reason to. I just think that people in general
aren't too stupid and can interpret the works for themselves
without wall texts. Plus, they make Pierogi feel so
"Empty City" is a pint of Guinness. The wall
texts are the annoying drunk with no teeth at the end of
the bar talking to his dead wife. Through May 24th.
I headed back towards some of the smaller galleries that
are part of the WAC. At this point I can't believe someone
would self apply the name WAC like in "Man, that's
fucking whack". Whatever, they've organized some big
ole shin ding and failed to give me the honor of orating
at their opening. I was secretly hoping to read this months
On my way I stopped by Boreas Gallery, since I heard there
was a decent drawing show there curated by Larry Walczak.
And it was. The thing is, the art is all systemic abstraction,
except for these weird figures. I just don't like equation
art, and this show could give an account the chills. If
you like your drawings formal and cold, this show is for
"Size Does Matter" is a can of Sapporo. It
looks cool but tastes just like Bud through May 23rd.
I tried to check out Brooklyn Fire Proof, but the door was
locked. Thanks for keeping hours jackass.
I stopped in Naked Duck, and was rewarded with three walls
of graffiti. I was still way to hungover to join the fray
so I leave it to you, good people of Williamsburg.
"Make Your Mark" is a lukewarm can of PBR.
I thought I was finally done, when I passed another new
gallery, RKL. The space is nice, but the art was ass. I
liked one little drawing by Joe Ferriso. The quirky thing
had character that the honest to god figure drawing near
it lacked. I can't believe they showed a figure drawing.
Wow. After undergrad I swore those goddamned things off.
Still, everything else was so bland, I felt like pouring
salt on the walls. I say, if you make good work, bring it
over to the place before they bore someone to death.
"The Means" is a warm Genny Cream Ale. It doesn't
get much worse, but if you are touring during the WAC event,
stop by for a chuckle.
Well, not a bad month, thank god there was some overlap.
Anyway, if you don't know anything about beer, go to your
local market and just check the prices. If it's not there,
it's a real bad sign.
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