Art galleries are free, and are often packed in next to each other for blocks. What’s a better low-budget trip to the city? This past weekend I checked out some exhibits in the Lower East Side. Some notable moments were a bowl of free Chinese candy, some performance art with women stomping on giant red metal cubes and scaring the shit out of everyone in the gallery, and a detour to get expensive tacos the size of a Starbucks lid. Grab some friends, open your mind, and check some of this cool shit out.
Bonnie Lucas, Young Lady
Closes February 26th, @ JTT Gallery
Bonnie Lucas is a funny little nut. For nearly forty years she’s been shopping in Chinatown for children’s toys and assembling her pieces on a metal surface she places on top of her bathtub in her SOHO apartment. Her assemblages and paintings are fantastically whimsical wreaking femininity in pastel colors, frilly girl’s toys, and an overwhelming amount of pepto-bismol pink. The JTT Gallery unfortunately closed early the Saturday I went to visit, but I’m definitely going to try and pop by before the show closes on the 24th. Young Lady displays pieces Lucus made between 1983-1987, and we can definitely feel some influences from second-wave feminism. Lucas extracts obsessively from the the nuclear expectations of a young girl, sexuality, and the more disturbing experiences of human life. A vulva on a doll’s dress made from disassembled objects, flowers piercing the bodies of young girls, cyclops dolls with roses for eyes, Lucas’s depiction of girlhood veers toward the disturbing, and can sometimes feel like Judy Blume’s bad acid trip. That aside, Young Lady is both an ode to girlhood and the strangeness of life.
TM Davy – Horses
Closes February 19th @ 11R
When my friends and I saw a peak of Davy’s paintings through the glass gallery door we all came to the same consensus: “why the fuck not?” After gallery after gallery of slightly forgettable paintings, Davy’s Horses was a goldmine. Standing in front of the massive, hyper-realistic pieces, we were grinning and giddy like a group of kids telling sex jokes. And also quite literally in awe of the immaculate paintings of . . . horses? It wasn’t until we reached the end of the exhibit that we discovered that after his last show at the 11R, TM Davy the gallery’s address written on the back of a family photo. The man in the photo was his great-great-great Grandfather, who began the family’s American life with a livery stable at the exact location of the 11R gallery. The space felt slightly eerie afterward. The first two paintings in the front of the gallery are standing in stables, looking out open windows toward the direction of the street. The second horse (the pissing one) is placed in a windowless room, and is looking at the viewers walking by. The painting at the end of the gallery is a mother and its foal standing in front of a green vine tunnel. Walking back through the gallery, I imagined Davy’s painting a foal pissing knowing it would be displayed in the exact location his ancestor’s horses had pissed. Slightly strange. Also impressive.
Bea Fremderman – How to Do Nothing All Alone By Yourself
Closes February 26th, @ Shoot the Lobster
From the moment I saw this gallery online, everything about it from the title to the press release to the cover image came off as urgently seducing. Fremderman is obsessed with potential apocalypse. The installation includes weapons made from technology, a hammer made with a phone and arrowhead made from computer chips, a tree stump made from recycled paper, a plastic human leaning against it with a plug open at the head to suggest potential deflation. Clothes hung on a line overgrown with chia and grass poking through a drain pipe on the floor to suggest the prevalence of nature in a material world. A shoe with a hole cut in the sole and hung on the wall like a bird feeder. Each piece was uniquely symbolic yet collectively pointing to our eventual doom. Fremderman’s interests include the economic impacts of climate change, apocalyptic survival tactics, feelings of global dread and false notions of freedom. How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself is the most instagrammable gallery on this list, yet still remains a feast for thought.