The Chimney, Ulmer Arts, Transmitter, Century Pictures, CLEARING, Superchief
The Chimney has two strong exhibits for you to visit sooner or later. One is on-site at the Chimney’s home outpost, the other not too far away in an outpost you might call new or newish — historical emphasis on -ish.
At the gallery’s home space is “Twilight Chorus,” where a duo of cleverly brick-niche’d, collaged-in assemblies lingering in the circumstantial hinterlands scan as a scrapbook-like index of the trappings of street art, potentially hinting at rather immediate exteriors. Objects elsewhere place you in the landscapes and atmospheres of paintings by many a surrealist. Works tucked into yet other nooks unfurl in extended intimacies, and chromatically order, reflect and unfold like mascara compacts and make-up tables.
Many objects rich in reference and reminiscence in this also somewhat quietly rambunctious group show. Taken all together, it’s like an immersive diorama à la Miró.
Featured artists are Mariana Garibay Raeke, Ilana Harris-Babou, Circe Irasema, Héctor Jiménez Castillo, Mario Navarro and Marco Rountree. The show is a collaborative effort with a Mexican arts collective called guadalajara90210 .
That on-site show might sound like a lot to take in, in a way. But then there’s the off-site one.
Sprawling throughout six large, raw spaces and spread over several floors are somewhat site-specific, somewhat circumstantially installational works to see, hear and immerse yourself in, amounting to a cracking good summer group show featuring ten artists and presented by The Chimney at a space known, at least now — or at least ‘for now’ — as Ulmer Arts, erstwhile home of Wilmer Ulmer Brewery.
Towering sculptures, dangling textiles, enormous bugs, spiritual instrumentals, LED trickery, implied table games and then some are descriptive of the nature of some of the many, many pieces on view by a promising group of artists, including Autumn Ahn, Lino Bernabe, Andrew Erdos, Riitta Ikonen, Sara Mejia Kriendler, Aaron Taylor Kuffner, Yasue Maetake, Desire Moheb Zandi, Matt Taber and Nelly Zagury.
The exhibit will be open on weekends through 7/28, and the location is 81 Beaver Street near the triangulated intersection with Arion and Bushwick. One of the better things you might do in NYC this summer, art-wise, is not miss seeing these Chimney exhibits, and the off-site one in particular.
And really, I now kinda wish my name were Wilmer.
That name is a novel.
A fine one for the gazing of the eyes upon is this visually chromatico-jittery piece by MiYoung Sohn in the somewhat strangely cozy-ish-ly titled exhibit “Nestled in the Warm Embrace of Painting,” a group show of painting-ish-like ‘paintings’ at Transmitter, featuring Tana Quincy Arcega, Liz Atlas,MiYoung Sohn, Melissa Dadourian, Justin Mata , Christian Maychack and James Sansing.
With all those colorful pins gridded out and pushed into a cork substrate, it seems, to varying degrees, Sohn’s work might bring to mind mazes and labyrinths and Lite Brite and board games and Battleship and arcades and casino lights and marquee signs and the ‘who can make the most squares?’ game…
… and starry nights and stellar dots and constellations and… and… and…
and holiday cookies and cupcake icing and a somewhat yummy-cutesy-looking new face for…
… yes, you guessed it: our fine friend Pinhead, from Hellraiser. Imagine ‘nestling into’ his ‘warm embrace.’ Okay, maybe don’t.
Either way, very nice show, and this is a very great piece. On point and on point. Pinhead would approve.
A rather writ-small yet conceptually expansive, potentially juggernautal vessel of thought was “The Subjecters,” an installation of works by Thomas Hirschhorn at Century Pictures .
Somewhat beautiful and somewhat horrifying, utterly arresting yet too viewer-rejecting to be called transporting, somewhat absurd and paradoxical within logical confines, blatantly informed and underpinned by the philosophies of numerous philosophers, and experience-able as a scenario that begged alert witnessing more than merely viewing, the exhibit read, looked and silently screamed like a frozen one-act play in a theater of cultural critique.
In other words, it was a Hirschhorn exhibit much like many another. Hard to shake from the eyes, hard to shake from the mind. Impossible, really, at least for this viewer.
Also impossible for this viewer would be anything along the lines of brevity with regard to thoughts had about the work on site, immediately afterwards and ever since. Again for this viewer, at least, this made it a Hirschhorn exhibit much like many another.
I will note, however, this: While navigating between, under and around the works, I observed that essentially all of the names were of a certain geographico-demographico-critico-philosophical sort. Many things could be said to be meant or not meant by that ‘sort’, intentionally or not intentionally, but given those names, I thought that if it were at least slightly more inclusive in some sense, then at least one specific name would also be there. It really seemed like it wasn’t. But then, after much searching, it was found. Almost completely impossible to see in any way without positioning oneself in the strangest and least likely corner of the whole show to look for it. And it was pointing up and away from view.
If that was intentional then that definitely meant something. Really, it means something anyway.
And anyway, a riveting Hirschhorn show like many another riveting Hirschhorn shows.
A reverent monument to extraterrestrial autocracy? Domestic accoutrements found entombed with Martian oligarchs? A whirling plaything spun around to entertain and silence the squeaky-squealy shrieking spawn of intergalactic authoritarians? A beaming altar to things found adrift in the cosmos?
Mysteriously decadent and enjoyably puzzling, the four sculptures by Bruno Gironcoli that were recently on view at CLEARING were an overall wonderfully formidable, mildly imposing, generally imperious, almost menacing, subtly amusing gathering of works by an Austrian artist who passed away around a decade ago. A curious lot to circumnavigate and visually handle, the works left viewers pondering all kinds of questions, for sure.
Viewers as foolish as myself might have also felt compelled to climb around on and crawl underneath them. Then again, who’s to say I’m not hiding in or under one right now?
(Full disclosure: I tucked myself away in the works on the show’s last day, and the view from here is splendorous. Billions and billions of stars.)
Curated by Robert Fernandez, Aversano’s impressive and moving exhibit amounted to something like an ethno-anthropological examination, via portrait photography, of twins. According to the excellent book that accompanied the show, there are nearly 250 million sets of twins in the world. That figure blew me away – it amounts to almost 500 million people, which is over 100 million more people than the entire population of the United States.
Is that possible? Are there really that many sets of twins? It’s so interesting to ponder. Imagine, for example, if they all gathered as a nation. I think that would be the third or fourth largest nation in the world.
Sounds like politico-futuristico sci-fi. Aversano would be Photographer in Chief, for sure, since his book project and show evidence that he’s already met and photographed 100 such siblings.
Interesting also to think about what office curator Robert Fernandez might occupy in such a country. Chief advisor to Twin Butta Fly Monarchs, maybe.
In a nation that might need two flags.
Aversano is planning further iterations of the show or project in some way, at some point, so stay tuned if any of this piques your curiosity — or curiosities.
Paul D’Agostino’s Nota Bene with @postuccio posts are modified versions of capsule reviews and other art notes he posts on Instagram. You can follow him @postuccio.
All photos by Paul D’Agostino
Paul D’Agostino, Ph.D. is an artist, writer, translator and curator based in Brooklyn, New York. More information about him is available here, and you can find him as @postuccio on Instagram and Twitter.FacebookTwitterShare