IT’S NOT OVER YET, 2008. Installation view.
IT’S NOT OVER YET, the adamantly titled inaugural exhibition at INVISIBLE-EXPORTS, New York, closed just four days ago (September 26 — November 2, 2008). The gallery’s insistent beginning brings to mind an incongruous confluence of Warhol’s abandoning “Art is dead” statement and the dedication of the beat generation; specifically the romantic portrayal of hardship as expressed in Kerouac’s On The Road. Not by chance, Kerouac’s contemporary, bohemian hedonist William S. Burroughs appeared in the exhibition in collaboration with George Condo, as do other works by later avante-garde protagonists such as Genesis Breyer P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle who collaborated with Eric Heist, a conscientious NY based conceptual artist interested in current social and political issues.
Aaron Krach, Indestructible Artifact, 2008. Pinata, copper leaf, chocolate, Plexi. 30 x 18 x 8 inches. Edition: 1/3. Courtesy of DCKT.
Presented in the show were various mementos of the aftermath of a party. Aaron Krach’s Indestructible Object, a spent copper-leaf piñata, which in defiance of its title was merrily smashed at the opening reception, appeared later encased in plexi; displayed as if in a reliquary it drew focus on posthumous recognitions of the intrinsic beauty of our common tragedy. In a similar vien, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge & Eric Heist’s Candy Factory paintings examined the shadow cast by ‘The Factory’ over a post-Warholian art world. Also looking to Warhol but more superficially invested in the party context, Ivaylo Gueorgiev recreated the notorious lipstick vandalism (finally removed in 2005) on Warhol’s Bathtub with his oil on canvas entitled kissed Warhol.
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge & Eric Heist, Untitled (Pandogrynous Diptych), 2001(from Candy Factory series). Sugar, acrylic silkscreen on canvas. 24 x 24 inches each.
The various mixed media works were tempered with that lingering but exhausted chaos synonymous with the morning after, and often a political overtone that encouraged a persuasion to ‘let the good times to roll’ rather than actively stagnate them–and many other moments of ecstasy–with the all too popular deconstruction of celebration.
The press release stated: “After a decade of booms and busts, careless art and scrambled politics, our sense of fun has shifted. We throw parties because we don’t know what else to do, carousing loudly but hedging our bets. This is New York, several crashes deep. And oddly, no one seems to mind. The parties tell us we’re still alive, but the art says we’re still hard at work. It’s not over yet.”
Ivaylo Gueorgiev, Kissed Warhol, 2008. Oil on canvas. 41 x 38.5 inches.
In a very round about way, the exhibition made us think about life and art and all of those tired post-modern concerns the contemporary world tends to labor over; yet surprisingly from the mire of hackneyed affairs something new emerged—a sense of enthusiasm. Perhaps piggy backing off of a conscious global desire to facilitate some form of change or rebirth, the exhibition highlighted various instances of destruction or moral and physical decay, and like a snake shedding its haggard skin, the contrast between the callused realities presented and our instinctual attraction for (and belief in) a fresher and better world affected a renewed vigor for shared possibilities.
Benjamin Tischer, INVISIBLE-EXPORTS’ co-owner commented in interview:
“Essentially, two things came into play putting this together. One, my partner and I decided that we didn’t want to start our gallery with the standard “these are our artists” exhibition or even a solo show. We wanted a celebration, and we wanted to be inclusive, showing work by people who were exploring celebration aesthetics: Old friends and new acquaintances; trans-generational. A good percentage of the artists here have representation by other New York galleries, and we wanted to set a precedent for working ‘with’ rather than ‘against.’ Then, over the summer I read Bag of Toys, the “true crime” account of art dealer Andrew Crispo, who essentially had his gallery director commit murder for him back in the 80s. The affair was thick with scandalous s&m imagery and ‘so New York.’ Something about his behavior–notoriously rapacious but smart and successful–seemed to apply with all the doom-and-gloom predictions of the art market over the summer. And so the show took on some dark overtones. When doing studio visits, I explained it as a Bacchanalian orgy, where everyone had fun, but now it’s the morning after and we’re not sure, but we think there’s a corpse in the bathroom.”
Michael Bilsborough, Frogger, 2008. Ink on two sheets of archival drafting film. 30 x 30 inches.
Bacchanalian orgy or not, Michael Bilsborough’s Frogger, exemplified the suggestion of decadence and transgression intended in the show. Characterized by near-flawless draftsmanship and stylized, morbid renderings of genitalia, Bilsborough’s drawing is a portent of what everyday life for might be like if the temptations that beset mankind triumphed over its staunch conventionality. Rather than limiting the visualization of our shameful predispositions, the simplicity of Bilsborough’s line instead revealed with alacrity an alarmingly vile and clandestine world. Scented with the authority of anthropological textbook etchings, the depiction of a wretched humanity was allowed to flourish as a terrible and imminent fact.
The subject of futility was also present in Eva Marisaldi’s video narrative in which a one-robot-band traces the outskirts of a deserted seaside town before finally running out of steam, and to a certain extent in Paul Shambrooms 1987 Honda Civic, 300lbs. ANFO Explosive (2005) which depicts an exploded Honda and a pristine Hazmat suit — accessories and armaments reshaped and reflected in the crucible of a burning world.
Paul Shambroom, 1987 Honda Civic, 300 lbs. ANFO Explosive, 2005. Pigmented inkjet on paper. 42 x 63 inches. Edition 4/8. Courtesy of Stephen Wirtz Gallery.
Overall, an interesting theme of nostalgia surfaced– interesting because it is not so typical to look to the future by harking to the past. These days it seems that we have come to a common understanding that at some point, probably not too far back in our history, we deviated off course and are now left feeling marooned whilst simultaneously heading with considerable velocity toward an uncertain and undesirable fate. But somehow the values we cherish—which incidentally were mostly handed down from older generations and so never tasted first hand—are thankfully anchoring us, and now, at the cusp of a new beginning, having weathered the storm which loomed on the beat generation’s horizon we can confidently make the changes necessary to ensure that the certainty of our futures are not as vague as those of Sal sitting on a pier during sunset, looking west, reminiscing on God, America, crying children, and the idea that “nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old.” –Jack Kerouac
IT’S NOT OVER YET; on the contrary, it’s only just beginning… Waa-waa[.]
George Condo & William S. Burroughs, Untitled (Object), 1992. Barbed wire, leather waistband ammunition and gun holster, plastic Ken-doll, glasses, felt hat, vodka bottle, wood pedestal. 54 x 18 x 18 inches.
ITS NOT OVER YET was a group show featuring both gallery and invited artists including: Ed Baynard, Michael Bilsborough, George Condo & William S. Burroughs, Ivaylo Geourgiev, Peregrine Honig, Dorothy Iannone, Stephen Irwin, Lisa Kirk, Aaron Krach, Eva Marisaldi, Robert Melee, Franklin Preston, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge & Eric Heist, Paul Shambroom, Conrad Ventur, Aleksandar Zaar
INVISIBLE-EXPORTS is a gallery dedicated to superior conceptual work located in the Lower East Side, at 14A Orchard Street, just north of Canal. The hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11-7pm, and by appointment.
For more information please visit: www.invisible-exports.com