Here in New York, it’s got cold(ish) and somehow it’s time for another art fair. At openings recently, the inevitable question muttered over drinks, clutched increasingly desperately was: wait, which art fair is it this time? Art Armory? Frame Focus Time? Project New York? No, it’s Independent Projects. ArtReview can hardly keep them straight, so it’s turning a blind eye and focusing on galleries on the ground instead, picking five shows to see around the city through November.
A master of biting the institutional hand that feeds him, this selection of work spanning 50 years packs in some goodies, many of which are recent, including the maquette for Gift Horse, 2013, the winning proposal for the Fourth Plinth on London’s Trafalgar Square. A horse skeleton cast in bronze, with a London Stock Exchange ticker tape attached to a leg, it’s a symbolic takedown of the British upper classes and global capital, from London to New York. Other takedowns include The Business Behind Art Knows the Art of the Koch Brothers, 2014, which takes aim specifically at the ultra-conservative pair, major underwriters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new fountains.
I know what some of you might be thinking. Picasso? What’s new to see? But this show specifically addresses the artist through the framework of photography, both in front of and behind the camera. On display are never before seen prints of his own making, related paintings, prints and works in other media, plus images by acclaimed artists and photographers that feature Picasso as subject – Jean Cocteau, Cecil Beaton, and Man Ray, among them.
A pivotal, if nearly forgotten, East Village figure who died tragically in 1996, Greer Lankton was model and muse for many artists, including Nan Goldin and Peter Hujar. She was also, however, a notable artist in her own right, producing hundreds of dolls, belly button casts, and other works that render the body, in oblique reference to her own, both grotesque and gorgeous. I may be on staff, and perhaps I’m biased, but I really don’t think there’s anything else quite like it.
Like Lankton, if formally very different, Kronberg and Eastman also address the body, featuring it splayed in photographs that are left crumpled and leaning against the gallery’s walls. Humdrum stools feature hanging mirrors beneath them, reflecting viewers’ legs and feet as they walk by. Here, the phenomenology of viewing is reflected, refracted, and constantly repeating itself.
This handsome group show deals very gracefully with a difficult space. The installation of works by Janelle and Lisa Iglesias, Florian Meisenberg, Brie Ruais, Kika Thorne, and Jonathan VanDyke is very spare and cunningly placed. Incorporating both white walls and the surrounding ungainly, if eccentrically charming, brutalist architecture, the show makes corporeal connections between the splattered canvas works by VanDyke, the hand-pushed ceramic totem by Brie Ruais, and Meisenberg’s delicate abstractions and impressed body prints on canvas, among others.
12 November 2014.