Saturday, April 18, 2015

Which Do You Want to Hear First...the Good Muse or the Bad Muse? (Let's Start With the Bad Muse)

by Drew Martin
One thing I can be sure of when I do back-to-back gallery visits to Gavin Brown's Enterprise and the Maccarone gallery is that GBE will always have big, tacky work, and the Maccarone gallery inevitably will have something more interesting to spend time with. Everything I have ever seen at GBE has an immediate sensation, that leaves me cold in a matter of seconds. And Maccarone always helps redeem contemporary art with a little more craft and thought. This is why I always visit GBE right before Maccarone. Last week my take on GBE's show Here's Good Looking @U, Kid by Karl Holmqvist with an addendum by Rirkrit Tiravanija, followed by Maccarone's 17-person group show All Back in the Skull Together was no different.

I did actually like Holmqvist's "untitled" Four letter word sculptures (FUCK, LUVV, PUNK, and LIKE) and I also like a printed piece but the paintings fall into the GBE trap of feeling like the artist is just trying to cover the walls.

One of the pictures in the Maccarone gallery that I regretfully walked by too quickly (and need to go back to look at again) is by the Czech photographer Miroslav Tichý - the creepy, old man/brilliant photographer who looked homeless and used homemade scrap cameras in order to take voyeuristic pictures of young ladies in his town, Kyjov. Explaining his approach..."If you want to be famous, you must do something more badly than anybody in the entire world." As an aside for non-Czech readers, Miroslav means Famous for Peace, and Tichý means Quiet. There are also some interesting works in the show by another Czech - Eva Kotátková - untitled collages and a grilled bunkbed, Double Sleep, which of course brings to mind Edward Kienholz's The State Hospital.

When you first enter this gallery you immediately notice a pink, synthetic sculpture by Lynda Benglis, and a Cinderella sculpture by Birgit Jürgenssen, which is a little too illustrative for my liking.

What I liked the most were a couple simpler sculptures such as Jo Nigoghossian's Hole With Some Bars, and Sarah Lucas' Mammerylooloo whose use of the toilet and the soft sculpture nylon stocking breasts simultaneously evokes Duchamp and Oldenburg. 

And I especially liked Sam Anderson's floor-level and tiny sculptures Texas, and France, which have leather scrap territories.

I was not familiar with Eva Kotátková and found this interview with her when I looked her up: