At Primetime Gallery, a pint-sized art space in the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn, Dmitri Hertz and Alex DeCarli have assembled a two-man show featuring six individual sculptures, plus a collaborative collage and window display. The six objects on the floor of the small room are arranged with an emphasis on compositional balance and symmetry that activates the entire space. DeCarli’s offerings– which include a humanoid mask flattened into a vitrine, an upright post made of differentiated glued wood shavings, and a pair of hiking socks mysteriously suspended by a plume of cement—emphasize organic form and a probing expressionist vision. While Hertz, with his three sculptures, strikes an even balance between conceptual wholeness and personal touch. He explores the possibilities of shape, texture, and function, while paradoxical relationships between materiality and the artist’s labor are gradually revealed.
Hertz’s “Icosahedron Heater” is a twenty-sided form made of a single sheet of galvanized metal with a heating element hidden inside. Like a conventional home appliance, the sculpture is hot to the touch. Because of its 20 perfect equilateral sides the Icosahedron is considered a perfect shape by mathematicians, but as a heating unit it becomes an exercise in absurdity. The Icosahedron was constructed using origami techniques pointing at another strange relationship between ritualistic paper folding and the more uncanny task of bending and bolting heavy metal.
The “Dead Snake” looks like a piece of driftwood but began as a traditional 10ft long 2x4in wood plank. It was rubbed and sanded until it became wavy and smooth. The length of wood rests on a small piece of black obsidian–a stone traditionally used for arrowheads. Hertz points out that “The stone represents a human age of both chaos and ingenuity, once utilitarian and now useless.”
The contrast of use and uselessness, or the idea of failed functionality is also a theme in “Cache”. This clamshell shaped cement form opens up but doesn’t close. Each half of the shell is layered and textured, punctuated by common stones and built up slowly in a process Hertz describes as “painterly”. The ground on which the shell rests is a trompe l’oeil patch of moss convincingly made from green enamel on a doormat. It is unclear what this cache is meant to catch; possibly it’s a place for art ideas—some of them stick while others dissolve into thin air.
You are damp, cold, and huddled in a dark narrow shaft. A faint whiff of incense only partly masks a lingering rot. Cryptic drawings and diagrams cover the walls and a monotonous drumbeat repeats persistently from invisible speakers. Above it all is THE VOICE– deep, drawling, robotic, and curious. “Are you distracted?” it asks, “Are you all stuffed up?”
Only hours before, to escape a strengthening rain squall, you duck into a well lit storefront in New York City’s art gallery district. Lulled in with a strange feeling of familiarity, you at once observe a series of six large collages affixed to white paper in sleek black frames. A close inspection of the collages reveals a complex topography of edges and layers permeated by enigmatic words and transparent images of things like airport body scans, ghosts, and tapeworms. The outline of each collage is in the form of two overlapping circles like a MasterCard logo. Thinking about credit cards puts you further at ease, and you consider, “could I use my Visa to buy one of these?”
With this thought still lingering you notice a narrow corrider and follow it past offices, bookshelves, and attractive young people talking on phones. You enter the next room and hear a single faint high-pitched tone. Around you are three large sculptures, a framed collage, and little scraps of paper in piles on the floor. The sculptures are painted plywood spirals and helixes, shaped like oversized drill bits, DNA models, and djembe drums. Each wooden structure is lifted off the ground by rectilinear aluminum pedestals painted in modernist blue, red, yellow, and black.
While inspecting the mysterious text carved obsessively into all the dark surfaces of these sculptures, you hear, for the first time, THE VOICE.
“How many are you?” it asks, amplified and echoing.
You answer slowly to the empty room, “One.”
“How did you get here?” it asks.
“I passed through the corridor,” you reply.
“Are you hungry? Would you like some food stamps?”
“Are you wealthy? Are you a doctor?”
“There’s a woman in here her name is Sasha, she’s from Russia.”
You notice a scratching sound coming from a tiny slot in the wall and watch a small piece of paper fall to the floor. Picking it up, you read: What’s the one thing you would change about where you live? You quickly scrawl a reply with an available pencil and slide the note back through the wall. The voice booms again, “Do you often think about sex? Are you angry?”
Before you can reply another piece of paper falls from a different spot in the wall, it says: There’s a crime being committed right now, look. You glance around nervously, as THE VOICE asks, “Would you like to join us?”
You pause before answering, then reply, “Yes.”
Moments later a wall panel shifts to form a narrow opening. You enter the next room.
There’s a sociological exploration I and my loose sound collective Friends With Benefits are throwing tonight. Near Gowanus
622 Degraw St.
it’s called STOP SEXTING
there will be juking, footwurk, spongebobbin’,
SMART, DJ TAMEIL, DJ RASHAD, DJ SPINN, and me, Devin KKenny
the prodigal son of Taste& Power who never received his promised t-shirt:
Two exceptional paintings in Ryan Schneider’s current New York solo exhibition at Priska Juschka Fine Arts are the self portraits,“The Drip, Etc” and “Self-Portrait as Missing”. “The Drip, Etc” reads like an updated version of Van Gogh’s “Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear”. The Van Gogh painting depicts the artist with his head wrapped in white gauze after a mythic act of self-inflicted violence fueled by madness and 19th century angst. Schneider also deals with a type of self-inflicted brutality this time in the form of rampant drug use. White chunks of cocaine drip from the subject’s nose while swirls of dripping paint double as streaks of sweat surrounding hollow brown eyes. In Schneider’s painting, Van Gogh’s white bandage is replaced by the letters ‘ETC’ carved maniacally into the surface of the canvas near the subject’s forehead. This unexpected moment points less at psychological madness
and more at 21st century ambivalence, disaffection, and drug fueled brainstorming sessions where new ideas flash and fade in the same instant. The letters ‘ETC’ allude to the contemporary painters struggle to continually make new work, cover new ground, and avoid the sinking feeling that everything has been done before.
In “Self-Portrait as Missing” Schneider replaces the central subject with a ghost like outline surrounding a human form of painterly drips and washes. Featuring a linear composition and vibrating interior patterns, this painting follows many tenets of traditional portraiture, but with one major twist: the subject is invisible. One could interpret this painting as a visual manifestation of existential notions of ‘nothingness’ in which the subject empties his mind and body to transcend conscious thought. It could also be read as the artist imaging a time after his own death in which his spiritual presence is still felt despite the extinction of his physical body. But a closer analysis of this painting’s minutia offer clues to a different explanation. Strewn across the two foreground tabletops are numerous wine bottles, beer cans, cigarettes, and lines of powdered narcotics. This artist uses drugs and alcohol the way Frodo Baggins uses his magical ring—to disappear. The failure of this strategy is obvious and tragic, but serves as the source for many of the paintings in this strange and anxiety laden show.
The name of Schneider’s exhibition is “Send Me Through”. In connection with the ghost-like figure in “Self-Portrait as Missing” it is easy to think of the artist as passing like a spooky apparition through the walls of the gallery and beyond. This title could also be read as the subject calling out to an often-unsympathetic art world to “send me through” the glass ceiling built up around so many young artists. But mostly it seems upon the creation and display of his complicated and disturbing paintings Schneider is urgently demanding something of his maker: send me through the turmoil and into the peaceable realm.
Daniel Heidkamp, 2010
I have no idea…
70s Psych & Stoner Rock from Zambia
Chrissy Zebby Tembo
I want to post something about Paul Ngozi but I have to go to work and build flats for some shit at sundance. so i’ll hopefully do that later. picture from Now & Again Records which has reissued beautiful vinyl pressings from the afforementioned artists.
Something reminded me of this song today and I ain’t heard it in years, so I thought I’d post it. Althea & Donna‘s Uptown Top Ranking. So good.
Also, Phyllis Dillon with Don’t Touch Me Tomato.
Alton Ellis’ son Noel recorded a record in the early 80s in Canada which is pretty rad.
Burning Spear‘s classic “Marcus Garvey.”
Big Youth “Pride and Joy Rock”
The self-described “Dark Prince of Dub” Keith Hudson‘s “Darkest Night”