Recommended Reviews

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  • 2.0 star rating
    First to Review
    Listed in My Firsts!

    I had heard a lot about The Future Gallery before I came to Berlin and was excited to visit it. I'm sorry to say that I was disappointed. Both of the exhibitions I saw there were weak. Jennifer Chan's exhibition had a jumble of works that looked like they were based on trendy motifs I had seen elsewhere--plants, a pool of water, a printed list of unused URLs--but I couldn't figure out why these motifs had been brought in here. The most interesting part was the video, about two dudes Skyping and then ordering a pizza. It was hard to tell what they were saying but I guess the sound was fuzzy on purpose and I was OK with that. The "climax," so to speak, featured a guy in a pizza-print shirt jerking off and ejaculating on the shirt. You don't see a lot of penises in video art, especially not in such long explicit shots. Watching it was uncomfortable (and not just because it was a mediocre penis, lol) so if Jennifer Chan was trying to disrupt the male gaze or whatever I would have to say that she succeeded. More importantly, I liked the connections between that part of the video and the homosocial intimacy of the two guys Skyping and sharing pizza, and how it suggested ideas about contemporary masculinity, youth culture, and internet culture.

    At least Jennifer Chan's exhibition was trying to communicate something and engage ideas. The second show I saw at Future Gallery was intellectually empty. There were some elaborately tie-dyed textiles and glass fixtures that looked like they came straight from Home Depot--gestures about materiality and transparency that (as was the case with Jennifer Chan's non-video works) seemed familiar from elsewhere but were not fully conceptualized or convincingly executed here. At the opening the gallery was serving a Turkish gum that was flavorless--you just chewed and chewed and it didn't release any taste. This seemed like a bad choice on Future Gallery's because it was too easy to take the refreshments as an unflattering commentary on the work.

    Maybe I just hit a couple of duds. I think it's great that The Future Gallery is committed to working with artists who don't have much of an exhibition history and lets them try out new things. But I feel like there are so many young artists in Berlin and elsewhere that it could do better. Perhaps developing more group shows would be a good idea, because those can cover up weaknesses that solo shows expose.

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