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102 Reviews

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  • 5.0 star rating
    2 check-ins First to Review

    (note: this gallery is commonly known as Reena Spaulings..

    There's always something interesting happening at Reena Spaulings! This time it's... dishes. The latest exhibition is by Georgie Netell, whose paintings--let's be honest--aren't all that special. They are vigorous abstractions in off-white and gray-blue on brown, burlap-looking linen, whose rawness contrasts with the smooth matte surface of the paint. Quirky little paintings like these are everywhere these days. But it seemed like the ordinariness of them was the point, because they were interspersed with bins full of dirty dishes. Art (or eating) is an everyday thing, the paintings (dirty dishes) are what's leftover from it. Art comes off as a kind of routine, which makes the show sound boring but I actually found it quite exciting to look at the dishes and the food remnants caked to them. The dish trays are installed in weird places, like the windowsill, and on a big black couch in the middle of the gallery--another bit of domesticity that you don't always find in a gallery--which I sat on for a spell while contemplating the work. Also for Georgie Netell's show the gallery's front desk was moved from near the door to within the exhibition space, as if the receptionist's work was on display, too, like the dishwasher's. nice touch. Reena Spaulings is always doing stuff like this to keep you on your toes and capture the imagination. I would highly recommend a visit to anyone with adventurous tastes in art.

  • 38 Ludlow Street
    Manhattan, NY 10002
    5.0 star rating
    1 check-in First to Review

    Nice little spot. A rare non-profit in the area, which is partly why the offerings here are often so unlike the other stuff you see in the neighborhood. It is funded by the German government but there is so much more than German art here and you might enjoy it even if you don't have any particular interest in Germany.

    A recent exhibition had work by Adrian Jeftichew. There was a lot going on and I don't even know how to describe the mixture of humor, curiosity, and excitement I felt while walking through the gallery so rather than try to sum it up I'll list some of the themes/motifs: dogs, dog hair, dog-man, human hair, wigs, balloons, prehensile tension, drawings on the wall with ketchup, drawings behind doors, art that's hard to see, art in the bathroom, sculpture with tortilla, animal faces, noses. Pretty interesting, right? I was lucky that the curator was there and he generously walked me through it and made sure I didn't miss anything. He also explained some backstory. Turns out Adrian Jeftichew isn't even a real person, it's a name of a nineteenth-century circus freak (a dog-faced man) and a two-person artistic team took his name for their collaboration, and they also use pieces of his biography in the life of their fictional artist, to present their wild installations as the work of an Eastern European beast-man. So they play with your perception not only on the level of your physical experience in the gallery but also the narrative around it, which, honestly, is usually what people remember and talk about more than the art itself--especially when art is description-defying as theirs. Very cool. Looking forward to seeing what Ludlow 38 does next!

  • 5.0 star rating
    3 check-ins First to Review
    Listed in My Firsts!

    Recently reopened in a new, bigger location.  When I last went, for a show of work by Allyson Vieira, the front entrance wasn't finished yet so you had to go in through the office. This was actually great because I otherwise might have missed the series of earthy nudes on paper and set in mirror-backed frames, which were hanging in the office instead of the gallery. They were great. And just a teaser for a show full of cool surprises. Allyson Vieira's work is all about archaealogy and primordial architectural forms, and she evokes these themes with layers of contemporary construction materials such as plaster and drywall and concrete. It's monumental but also strangely slight. A lot of her pillars, arches, and cornices were white and blended in with the wall, so I'd be looking at one sculpture in the middle of the gallery and then turn around be like, whoa! more art, right here against the wall behind me the whole time! It's like a fragment of an imaginary building haunting a real building. There were some funhouse mirrors on the floor so the forms of the sculptures, reflected in them, seemed even more ethereal than they were already.

    Laurel Gitlen has a back room so make sure you don't miss it. I can't say what will be there when you visit but at Allyson Vieira's show there was a bronze cast of a squid attacking a winged penis. Epic.

  • 2.0 star rating

    This museum is sooo random! I was there today and I heard a docent telling her tour group that "there was no acquisitions policy written down" until 1951 and I was like, no shit lady. The Fricks were just buying whatever struck their fancy and now New York has this weird museum celebrating them and their whims. I guess it's useful for figuring out your taste in painting, because there is such a weird mix--without any kind of chronological or historical narrative to rely on--that it's really up to you to decide what's worth looking at and how you should look at it. Though there is a free audio guide.. but audio guides are for dweebs.

    And there is a lot to like here. For instance, I LIVE for Holbein the Younger and the portrait of Thomas Cromwell is absolutely radiant. I also am obsessed with the two Turner paintings of the northern European port cities, with orange waters and yellow skies. The Cologne one has a puppy drinking from the Rhine. It's nice that they have big couches under each Turner to rest on and look around. Each would be ideal for resting in while looking at the Turner on the opposite wall... BUT in the middle of the gallery there's a table with some decorative statuettes on it, so if you try to look at the opposite Turner there is a centaur abducting a woman and blocking your view (so instead you have to look a little to your left, at Margareta Snyder, an old Dutch lady who had to wear a huge collar so she wouldn't bite her stitches). The centaur is additionally annoying because, like most of the Frick's decorative arts, it's just a tacky expensive tchotchke. Other "highlights" of the applied arts include nymphs on a clock and two porcelain geishas who look like they're high.

    Let's get real--some of the paintings are pretty bad too. Like the Goya portrait of a military officer who has this smug-but-insecure hipster look on his face (which, I'll admit, is weird in a good way--but certainly not a significant work as far as Goyas go), or Manet's big pastel-colored scene of a mother and her two little girls, all of whom look like stupid dolls, and the only dark color is their spooky eyes, which are gawking at something off the canvas.. what the hell is it? I actually don't even care. Also don't care about the big boring French paintings with lots of dark trees, none of which are even Poussins.

    The moral of this story is, if you have obscene amounts of cash you can buy whatever art and knickknacks you like and put them in your Fifth Avenue mansion, and that's fine. But it's overly pretentious to assume that other people need to see it just the way you left it.. it's better to donate it to the Met or the National Gallery and let the curators make sense of it. But I can see why Henry might have had some immortality issues with a name like Frick.

  • Isa
    348 Wythe Ave
    Brooklyn, NY 11211
    4.0 star rating

    I can't say anything about the food because I didn't eat here. I went for the performance art! The second floor has recently become an experimental theater/performance/cabaret space, which I'm guessing is the initiative of the "new management" mentioned in other reviews. The night I went the offering was "Two Towel Margarita: A Performance by Travis Boyer." It happened three times during the night, at 9, 10, and 11. (Between and during the performance it was just a party, with people standing around, drinking, and dancing. The music was really fun.) I thought from the title that it was going to involve serving some weird margaritas but it turned out to be body shots. What Travis Boyer did was he took his shirt off and lay back on a table, and an assistant held a plastic bag over his head, and people stood in line to take turns drinking tequila off his chest. Like I said, this was not what I was expecting and it did not sound appealing, but I came for the experience so I had to do it! When it got closer to being my turn I could get a better view of what was happening. Travis Boyer has a weird-looking torso. Not fat and not skinny but with fleshy lumps around the midsection and bony up at the shoulders, as well as an unusually deep chest cavity. As people walked up to slurp tequila out of the gully in his chest, his weird torso was jerking and writhing this way and that, as if he couldn't breathe (because of the plastic over his head) and he hated being there. It made me feel uncomfortable and a little nauseous. But it was too late to turn back. My turn. His cavity got refilled and I bent down to drink. Wow!! It was so disgusting! I don't even like tequila to begin with, and this was cheap stuff, mixed with the artist's rank sweat. When I was drinking my lips and tongue touched his clammy flesh a little bit. I was trying to avoid this but with him writhing around like he was my attempts were futile! Damn it was gross. But performance art is supposed to move you out of your comfort zone so in that sense it was definitely a success. I drank two beers after that but I couldn't wash away the flavor of sweaty tequila. And even though I brushed my teeth super-thoroughly that night I was still thinking about it in the morning. ISA left me with a horrible taste in my mouth AND a satisfyingly memorable experience. That's not something you can say about every restaurant!

  • 3.0 star rating

    While Red Lobster is a familiar entity to diners in the United States, a global superpower and an aggressive exponent of neoliberal ideology, I had never dined there until a recent Sunday afternoon. My companion, who had only visited Red Lobster facilities in central Pennsylvania, immediately remarked on the "upscale" self-presentation of this urban Red Lobster relative to the more casual atmospheres of the Pennsylvanian habitus. The dark wooden paneling and navy banquettes articulated one of interior design's discourses of authority in order to enact the effect of a "special experience," so apt for this particular outlet of the Red Lobster chain, located as it is in the belly of an outer-borough temple of consumption.

    Visitors to Red Lobster often comment on the delight produced by the complimentary cheese biscuits. A basic and omnipresent food--bread--is presented in an alternative form--the biscuit--elaborated further by Red Lobster with the addition of cheese, a dairy product popular for its combination of creaminess and saltiness. Served warm, the cheese biscuits exude a coziness that illusorily eradicates the sensation of alienation of consumer to food endemic to the mass-market restaurant experience. While the cheese biscuits are free, the cost of their production is in fact hidden in the prices of the menu's paid items. A gift without a gift economy (Reb Lobster's manager would be surprised indeed should a customer offer something in reciprocation), their distribution is in actuality an augmentation of the capitalist practice of concealing rent and labor in the commodity form.

    We shared two appetizers and one entrée, playfully subverting the standards of individualized gluttony through the implementation of a communal dining praxis. The Coconut Shrimp comprised plump prawns fried in a batter so fruity and sweet it may have passed for a dessert at a more avant-garde eatery rather than a starter at Red Lobster, especially when dipped in the accompanying pina-colada sauce. (The flavor was nearly indistinguishable from that of my beverage--a Malibu Hurricane--highlighting the transversal of gustatory stimulators across solid and liquid forms of nourishment.) The dish interrogated first-course conventions even while following them, a contradiction intensifying the appetizer experience: a frivolously crunchy fried finger-food whetting the appetite for more substantial fare as well as a cloying flavor experience that induces an immediate craving for a subsequent savory dish. We also ordered the Lobster Pizza, where chunks of shellfish swim in a creamy pool atop a crisp crust. The fusion of two cuisines--seafood and Italian-American--so popular in the New England dining milieu in which Red Lobster's branding strategy finds its genealogy was a clever move on Red Lobster's part, yet without vegetables or notable seasonings the blend was bland. The internal flaw undermining the fusion was revealed as the Lobster Pizza deconstructed itself on my tongue.

    Our Signature Combination was comprised by barbecued shrimp, grilled scallops, and a bisected lobster tail. The trio of now-defunct crustaceans reconstituted life on the sea floor in a colorful array, jauntily organized in a loose triangle upon a broad oval platter. The lobster, a metonym of the institution itself, was suitably succulent, the bites of meat clinging to the edges of the shell much like the bodies of patrons lodged in the restaurant's booths. It showed us, with horrible vividness, how we consume lobster and how lobster consumes us. The garden salad, the cost of which was included in that of the Signature Combination, was utilized by me as palate cleanser, the tasteless iceberg lettuce offering a tepid respite from bites of butter-drenched fish flesh, but otherwise it was unworthy of comment.

    All of these dishes were not only served but pictured on the menu, photographed with such glossy flair that, when the menu is placed beside a plate and opened to the page on which the dish is pictured, a passer-by could be forgiven for failing to distinguish the two with a quick glance. When the menu is on the table, the diner's gaze is bifurcated as it meets its objects of desire: the physical food and its photographic reproduction, an auratic potential meal that is just as--if not more--appealing than the real nourishment that sits before the diner. Thus Red Lobster maintains its customers in the gears of the engine of desire, inciting an appetite that can only be extinguished by death; the customer--always between yearning and satisfaction, hunger and satiety--wants to eternally return to ShrimpFests, CrabFests, and LobsterFests. Saddeningly, many Yelpers have succumbed to this spectacle, failing to adapt a truly critical optical in their reviews; they fixate on the centrality of the lobster itself rather than confronting it as a repertoire of practices and effects that increasingly lodges Red Lobster within the body.

  • 3.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    According to Yelp three stars is "A-OK" so this isn't a *bad* review. In fact I will start out by saying something positive: I am so happy that the Whitney's management has decided to move! They are opening a new location near the High Line in 2015, and that will be great for them. Maybe by now you can already guess what I don't like about the Whitney... it's that the building sucks. Every time I go there I feel depressed. It's a dark, heavy place, with the vibe (and smell) of a mid-century institutional building. When I'm on the stairwell between floors I have flashbacks to junior high and it's generally unpleasant.

    But despite that I can't give the Whitney a bad review because they have (and especially lately they have had) so many great exhibitions! I'm always impressed when the artists manage to take the gross building they've been given a space in and turn it to their advantage. Last summer when Sharon Hayes was there the oppressive & somber atmosphere of the third floor--with its low brutalist ceiling--was actually a good accompaniment to her documentations of protests and interviews with ordinary people. The raised platforms that brought viewers even closer to the ceiling really emphasized that. Wade Guyton, who had a show on the same floor, made a series of mirrored U's in various sizes, and the cement squares that tile the ceiling turned into viscuously moving holes in the reflections. Plus the gallery was reorganized with temporary walls in a visually dynamic layout that made me forget about my surroundings. Also the recent Richard Artschwager exhibition was one of the best retrospectives I have ever seen, and his work is all about the psychology of interior spaces. It led me to think about how the Whitney's building has a bad effect on my psychology, which was better than just feeling it.

    In short, there's almost always a couple of must-see shows at the Whitney and I hope that in 2015 when it moves seeing them won't be such a downer. I also hope they install working water fountains there. The water fountains here never eject more than a weak trickle and it's impossible to drink from them.

  • 4419 Purves St
    Long Island City, NY 11101
    5.0 star rating

    I'm looking at the other reviews for Sculpture Center and thinking, "Wow! What a great bunch of thoughtful, well-written reviews!" It just goes to show that Sculpture Center is a real magnet for intellectual types. It does exciting things that the bigger institutions in the city can't risk and as such it performs an important function in the New York art world. I don't have much to add to what's already been said here, but I wanted to give Sculpture Center some stars!

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

    The name of this gallery is so hard for me to remember! I'm always like "McInnes & Nash... Mitchum & Guinness... what's it called?!" So, too many words in the title but other than that this is a solid gallery. Last time I went they had an exhibition of paintings by Keltie Ferris. There was a lot of buzz around this artist but I had never seen her works in person so I was excited to go. I was not disappointed! They are very vivid abstractions, where layers of color and brush stylings play against each other in an electrifying dance. I thought for sure that the bottom layer of these paintings had been printed on with an inkjet, but when I asked a gallery attendant she said, no, the whole thing was painted by the artist by hand.. if I remember correctly, she used a spray nozzle and/or a sponge, which had the effect of muting the movement of her hand. I totally fell for it! Wonderful.

    The space itself is big, airy, and bright, with lots of room to move around and choose your own path for studying the works on display. One of the women at the front desk is always very friendly and eager to answer whatever questions I might have. The other one is not so gregarious. Fair enough. It's not like I'm actually a client who is there to buy something.

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

    This gallery features all Korean artists. When I visited they had a group show: "Permeated Perspective: Young Korean Painters." It was organized to look like a museum exhibition, with a nice brochure on heavy stock and everything. I personally was not impressed. For one thing, I couldn't figure out what about the perspective was "permeated." It all looked like regular old perspective to me. Even when the painters were mixing traditions of Asian ink painting with Western styles it looked way less flattened and squashed than the Korean stuff I've seen at the Met. One of the artists made ink portraits of Bond villains and other movie characters in a semi-traditional style. Another did contemporary interiors where the brush strokes were softened for some depth and domestic warmth. She was my favorite in the show, but even she couldn't move beyond gimmickry in her approach to painting and her subject matter. I wonder why when Chelsea has so many galleries showing artists from all over the world, Doosan needs to pigeonhole itself and its artists as specifically Korean, even to the point of limiting its show concepts to national origin.

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Review votes:
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February 2012

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