Duke Riley, Gary Hill, Erik Wysocan

I took a very brief jaunt around NYC’s Chelsea a few days ago and was enamored with the following shows:

Duke Riley: Two Riparian Tales of Undoing
Magnan Metz Gallery, 521 West 26th Street
Through April 9 (Last day is tomorrow!)

I’d adored a prior show at Magnan Metz Gallery on West 26th Street, and I was impressed again with the scope of Riley’s exhibition. There are two large, detailed shows that remind me of historical museums in different ways. The first, on one of Riley’s train-riding, hobo, antecedents was an immersive installation dotted with videos, dense smells and a massive-window-turned-lightbox featuring a handmade drawing. The second tells of Riley’s attempt to recover an island near Pennsylvania where said antecedent once squatted. This is told through mosaics, a delft-inspired plate collection, artifacts, rubbings, and a documentary video. I love that Riley, additionally a tattooist, clearly has a love of the drawn line, but his draftsmanship enhances—rather than defines—the scope of his inquiries.

The MM site appears to be down at the moment, so have a look at the photos that accompany Time Out’s review of the show.

Gary Hill: of surf, death, tropes & tableaux: The Psychedelic Gedankenexperiment
Gladstone Gallery, 515 West 24th Street
Through April 23

Hill presents a series of trip-out psychedelic projects, including 3-D videos, animations, a stereoscopic photo, and a video installation that exploits optical after burns. A molecule model, presumably of lysergic acid diethlyamide, recurs throughout, in a instance where constancy does not reassure. Nice install photos on Gladstone’s site.

Erik Wysocan: A Thousand and One Nights
Andrea Rosen, 525 West 24th Street
Through April 23

I originally plotted to see David Altmejd’s exhibition in the main gallery. His oversized plexiglass vitrine displaying thread and human anatomy of clay was interesting, however, I lingered much longer in Wysocan’s installation in the back room. Viewers pass through mock metal detectors to a security clearance and storage area.

What I loved most was the way Wysocan used light, lightboxes, plexiglass, and optical media to unique effects. He had two lightboxes featuring polarizing film sandwiched between glass sheets, one of which was broken. That, in turn was in front of a wrinkled sheet of clear cellophane. I spent a long time trying to figure out how it worked, what I was looking at, appreciating the optical effects, as well as the nice installation touches (such as running electrical leads behind the drywall).

He also had bass-ackwards vitrines where, presumably confiscated objects were on display, or not, in the case of one vitrine made of dark-tinted plexiglass where each object was carefully masked out. A number of reversals occurred where exterior-grade plywood pedestals were perched upon clear vitrines. Especially charming was a still-life of flowers in rococo vases, colors muted by their encasement in a tinted vitrine. Lots of great photos on Rosen’s site.


Houseplants & Contemporary Art

There’s something fun and funny about live houseplants in contemporary artworks.

Live plants takes the edge off of self-serious contemporary art. By growing or dying, plants challenge the static condition of art-hood and the illusion of timelessness. Their standardized pots clue the viewer in to their status as ready-mades. By referencing consumer culture, decoration and domestic life, there is an appealing familiarity. Houseplants strike me as unpretentious and welcoming.

Won Ju Lim. Ruined Traces, 2007. Installation with projections, vitrines and artificial houseplants. Patrick Painter Gallery, Santa Monica, CA. Image Source: Art Rabbit, feature on LA art by Courtney Shermer, Oct. 16, 2007. (Granted, these aren’t live houseplants, but I included them because they function the same. Plus, live plants wouldn’t survive an exhibition run such a dark space.)

Simon & Tom Bloor: As Long As It Lasts

Simon & Tom Bloor: As Long As It Lasts. Installation view, Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK.

Mostly trees, but there is a houseplant in the background. Image Source: Eastside Projects.

Martin Creed, work from Down Over Up, 2010

Martin Creed, work from Down Over Up, 2010

Down Over Up is on view at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh through October 31, 2010.
Image Source (and many more delightful photos at): This Is Tomorrow, thanks to NM. (I’m also loving the black, diagonal, paint roller stripes in the gallery.)

Alejandro Almanza Pereda, A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.

Alejandro Almanza Pereda, A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines

Image Source: Artist’s site.
Alejandro Almanza Pereda exhibits a larger iteration of this sculpture in The Heaviest Luggage for the Traveler is the Empty One
at Magnan Metz Gallery in Chelsea, NY, through October 23, 2010.

Rodney McMillian, Succulent, 2010, Installation view, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles

Rodney McMillian, Succulent, 2010, Installation view, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles

Tiny image, sorry. Image source: Paper Monument.

Also — Jeremy Deller said

I have a fantasy of lighting a concert with some tropical plants on turntables and a few lights.

Brilliant! Read more from the joint interview between Deller and David Byrne (awesome just got awesomer) at