Back to (Art) School Night

Gee, I wonder if there are any openings this weekend? ?? Did some quick drivebys last night, then actually lingered at a couple of friends’ galleries, highlights as follows:

  • Julia Scher at Andrea Rosen: While I’ve followed (and been followed by) Julia’s work since 1995 (the date of that adaweb link), her last show, left me a little cold, even though it included microwaves. (Yes, it’s going to be that kind of day. You may want to run now.) But this one had me before I knew it, literally.
    Walking along 23rd to the Chelsea Gallery Ghetto, I saw a helicopter, stationary, hovering straight ahead, over…it could have been shooting something downtown. A wreck on the West Side Highway? Another helicopter passed by, a totally unremarkable occurrence, except that it wasn’t now. I walked on, forcing doomsday thoughts out of my head, resisting/refusing to become the kind of media consumer/junkie it’s so banally easy to scorn. Anyway, when I got to the gallery, Andrea was on the sidewalk in front, looking up approvingly. The helicopter had been hired for the opening, to do just what it did to me. The show inside has some easily overlooked but similar elements. It rocks, classic Julia-style.

  • Robert Melee at Andrew Kreps: (who really needs a website. Andrew…) Dystopic domesticana, or something. The show is a full-blown survey of his work: his paintings, film/videos, installation, and…performance. His mother, who figures prominently into his video and photographic work, was there, in a shop window-like booth, drinking a 12-pack and smoking a carton of Marlboros. Robert’s work is as smart as it is disturbing, and believe me, it’s disturbing.
    Speaking earlier in the week about collaborating with his mother, Robert said that she just loved the attention. With this in mind, I felt an odd sense of wanting to be polite and look at her, for her sake. I felt it even more in the moments when no one in the crowded opening was looking her way; ignoring her is rude and mean, so I’ll look, make eye contact, so she doesn’t feel bad. Of course, looking made me feel wrong and dirty and antsy/uncomfortable. These contradictory feelings continued all night.

  • Thomas Scheibitz at Tanya Bonakdar: Sculptures that are closely related to his oddly colored, abstracted paintings. Pretty great, especially when seen together. To be honest, it’s taken me a couple of years to warm to his work, but it’s been worth the wait.
    It’s that time of year, I guess. In Slate, Robert Pinsky has a “Guided Anthology” of poetry. The three works he highlights are all worthwhile examples, but Carlos Drummond de Andrade’s “Souvenir of the Ancient World” resonated beyond just the title. I had re-read the entries from exactly a year ago, which seemed to resonate.