A bi-monthly collection of mixed reviews.
Gilbert & George: The Corpsing Pictures at the Lehmann Maupin
The height of the summer is the worst time to see shows in New York, everybody knows it. The art goers have gone to cooler places, and whoever is here has to put up with the leftovers. Still, comfort can be found, this time at Lehmann Maupin. The duo Gilbert and George are proving to reinvent themselves yet again, with four decades of work under their belts. Just like their musical twins, The Sparks, Gilbert and George make it seem like lightness and joy come easier as one gets older. Perhaps it’s not a matter of age but of experience and satisfaction. For one reason or another, The Corpsing Pictures contain that kind of intelligence that comes with endless attempts of playing around with images and words. These series of frames in a grid, colorful and red-heavy self-portraits have been on the duo’s work table for a while. It is fun to see work on such a large scale, especially since the work is so rich in detail and the print is extremely tactile. The works are so high in contrast, they almost seem back-lit. The presence of death is palpable here, the figures are placed in what looks like a coffin, and around them or on top are large bones. But death is not necessarily a negative idea to engage with. Gilbert and George present this funny and joyful series as a clear example of accomplishment. They will become corpses, that is true, but they will be highly accomplished corpses.
Harry Gould Harvey IV: Sick Metal at PPOW
If you have had your finger on the pulse for the past five years or so, you have witnessed young artist Harry Gould Harvey IV grow and sharpen. This last July was hotter than ever, yet Harvey’s solo show at PPOW justifies schlepping around Tribeca. The show is surprisingly large and packed with work, but is not overhung. The works have integrity both as singles and as a group, allowing one to meet the spiritual charge of the content Harvey deals with. The bulk of the materials here are found, or rather salvaged. They have a history and an energy to them, and still they come together tightly as if the artist could order them from anywhere in the country. While there is a lot to know here, since we are facing the work of a well-read and highly curious artist, one would enjoy the objects with no preparation as well. Harvey’s drawings are pleasurable to look at. Looking like a combination of sacred icons and children books illustrations they invite close looking and offer intellectual and emotional depth.
Utah Sinder: Globohomo at Shoot the Lobster
This Chinatown gallery is carving itself a spot on the map, putting young painters forward. We like fresh colorful work. But it is time for a reality check: this space is small and chronically overhung, so much so that one can barely step far enough to see the work. Claustrophobia never complimented art viewing very much. Another thing is the curator’s taste. It is good, and consistent, but perhaps too consistent. Big paintings in bright colors on repeat, that is what we have seen here for more than one season. Lobsters are clever creatures known for their longevity. Let us meditate on their nature, then we can shoot.