Museum as Muse at the Flatiron Project Space

Museum as Muse, Installation, Image courtesy of Leigh Behnke

A favorite experience of mine is to visit the Metropolitan Museum without a show or work of art in mind to see. I enjoy wondering the galleries until I come across something I had not noticed before and then spend the time looking and analyzing the work. This experience is likened to one I have recently had at “Museum as Muse”, a show curated by Leigh Behnke, consisting of works by the artist herself, Joe Fig and Peter Hristoff. The show is not at a sprawling Chelsea gallery or at a small, but relevant Lower East Side venue. It is tucked away within the confines of an academic institution, School of Visual Art, located on 21st Street in the SVA Flatiron Gallery Project Space. As the title suggests, all three artists have used the museum in some capacity as a starting point for their work.

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Magdalena Dukiewicz at Stand4 – In Every Dream Home a Heartache

In every dream home a heartache, installation view. Photo courtesy of the Elisa Gutiérrez Eriksen

A former medical office located in the heart of Bayridge Brooklyn, hosts Magdalena Dukiewicz solo exhibition “In Every Dream Home a Heartache“, a visual, physical and poetical exercise in which the artist revisits particular objects and memories from her childhood in Poland to explore an idea of “home” that has been inoculated in her mind from an early age. For Dukiewicz, the thought of a home brings a cumulus of anxieties related to social expectations, which calls into question the preconceived ideas of how things are supposed to be in life: motherhood, marriage, work, living in a place other than your birthplace, fulfilling certain obligations.

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Ground Histories at PS122

Installation view of the East room: (right) david Goodman, (mid) Will Crowin, (left) Heidi Lau, photo credit Tommy Mintz

The grouping of mostly floor-bound sculptures in “Ground Histories”, the current group show curated by Will Corwin at PS122 Gallery, not only pulls our attention to the ground, but also makes us aware of what is underneath its surface – archaeological artifacts, graves, excavated memories. In the east room a triangular layout consisting of Will Corwin’s altar-like sculpture, Heidi Lau’s arched-shape ceramic sculpture sprawling, and David Goodman’s forte-like structure, create a sense of both tension and connectivity. Made of plaster and sand, painted with terra cotta and white tempera hues, and tied with rough ropes, Corwin’s “Jaw” is a rectangular free-standing sculpture that draws literally upon teeth and invokes the idea of the archaic – an architectural ruin from an unidentified culture, or an archaeological artifact with an enigmatic ritual significance. The tooth, a pivotal element in both forensics and bioarcheology, can be read in Corwin’s sculptures as a loaded metaphor for what it means to be human.

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Formula 1: A Loud, Low Hum at CUE Art Foundation

Laurie Kang

The group show “Formula 1: A Loud, Low Hum” at CUE Art Foundation raises questions on the meaning of visual formulae in contemporary art without falling into the trap of formulaic. The genesis of this three-person sculpture group show started with an open call in which the curators Mira Dayal and Simon Wu asked savvy art viewers to suggest “formulas,” that is, combinations of materials and tropes used, or perhaps overused in art today. Out of the 67 formulas submitted, the curators selected the ones they both found intriguing and invited Nikita Gale, Amanda Turner Pohan, and Laurie Kang to come up with responses to formulas that invoked the hard and soft, technological and biological, individual and institutional. Gale’s body-like textures, Pohan’s sleek kinetic sculptures, and Kang’s architectural steel structure, all merge industrial off the shelf materials with invisible elements such as sound, vibration, and sensitivity to light. Like the relationship of body and mind, their fragmented materials assume meaning through the hidden forces that seem to operate them.

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Nota Bene with @postuccio [vi]

M. David & Co. ,Cosmic Veggies, El Sótano, C&M Creative

M. David & Co.

So certainly sonorous that it’s surely a song is the duet of solo shows by Len Bellinger and Denise Sfraga that didn’t just open, but robustly, vividly, gregariously and, in part, also florally burst into being at M. David & Co. a couple of weeks ago. The energy and dynamism of the works in both exhibits is readily infectious, such that the reception itself assumed the same airs. That might’ve even been what catalyzed some of the springtime climes we’ve felt of late. And if so, great. Let’s see more, please.

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Sandra Chamberlin, on Breathing Underwater

Sandra Chamberlin, Procession, charred cedar, 2019, variable size. as shown 20’ x 10 x 26” d

“The stream of sap in the trees varies according to the phases of the moon.”

-Theodor Schwenk, Sensitive Chaos

Sandra Chamberlin’s sculptural installations invites the viewer to enter a three-dimensional drawing of alternate life-forms. Lines made of wood float off the walls, hover in the air, or balance on the ground, altogether creating a sense of abstracted life-forms. These linear sculptures are deeply rooted in the artist’s intriguing relationship to materials and processes which overall tie into her intricate perception of nature. Since the early eighties, Chamberlin has been making out of wood abstracted shapes through meticulous manual and mechanical processes she has perfected over these years.

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Nota Bene with @postuccio [v]


The Painting Center, Present Company, Talking Pictures, NURTUREart, Slag, SOHO20, M. David & Co., Fresh Window, Studio 10

The Painting Center

I’ve been looking at and occasionally commenting on the virtues and various points of particular interest in Alannah Farrell’s lusciously pictorial, sometimes lushly lusty paintings for a number of years now, and one thing I’ve enjoyed noting is that there seems often to be something stealthily, furtively, sometimes perhaps a bit serpentinely surreptitious about many of her works. 

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Nota Bene with @postuccio [iv]

Knockdown Center, Orgy Park, CLEARING

Knockdown Center

Wonderfully striking in bright luminosities, diagonal analogousness, situational room-to-room parallels, transporting suggestiveness and subtly warmed circumstantial frigidities are the two installations ‘contained,’ in a way, by “A Continuous Stream of Occurrence,” an exhibition that opened a few weeks ago at Maspeth gem The Knockdown Center . 

At top is Luba Drozd‘s room. It both looks and sounds like a veritable spatial knot of brilliantly site-specific polyphonia involving significant degrees of multidisciplinarity, multimateriality and strata within circumstantial strata of shadow-play. It’s a tough but fun knot to look at and into, and listen closely to, to begin to untie just how it works with totality and relative simplicity, though not in ways simplistic in the least. 

Rather than necessarily site-specific or sonic, the active state of William Lamsom‘s installation in the adjacent gallery is like that of a shimmering, gradually phase-changing antechamber to Drozd’s comparative cavern; they scan instantly as visually coherent in many satisfying and still individualizable ways. Entering Lamsom’s room alone is like stumbling into an abandoned research lab in a yearless future. Seeing the rooms in tandem is like being dropped in some nicely mysterious nook on Krypton and having no idea why.

Great installations, great show. Curated by a duo going by the ‘name’ XP (@xaviacarin & @parkcmyers). 

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Ethereal Anaesthetic

Joanne Ungar at Front Room Gallery

All Photos by Sharilyn Neidhardt

Joanne Ungar at Front Room, partial installation view

Pain produces sharp, bright sensations or sometimes ripping agony. It’s often intensely specific. The substances that bring us relief often do so by blurring the hard angles of our pain, allowing us to focus elsewhere. Some substances can leave us in a disconnected fog, far away from the source of discomfort. Others mute and muffle the pain, giving the relieved a sense of floating in a cushioned world. Calibrating effective pain relief can be a struggle for balance between an alert connection to the present and a silencing of uncomfortable sensation. Continue reading “Ethereal Anaesthetic”