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The Brooklyn street art collective Faile is so hot and cold that I’m starting to wonder if they have some type of artistic condition that borders on the bipolar. After showing some renewed promise in a slew of street art pieces around New York earlier this year (1, 2, 3, 4) their Bedtime Stories show at Perry Rubenstein Gallery was a dud.

The group works best in three-dimensions, where their comic book visuals and vintage advertising style combined with their folksy (and sometimes unusual) sense of color to create oddly appealing visual mashups, but the collective tends to exhibit two-dimensional work in a gallery setting, it’s a shame. At their Chelsea show, the column at the center of the gallery was by far the best thing on display but it also highlighted how the art on the walls seemed hallow and unfinished by comparison.

Why doesn’t Faile focus on their obvious knack for sculptural originality? If you need a reminder of their 3-D skillz you simply have to remember how fantastic their large marble Bunny Boy a few years back was or the prayer wheel-like metal sculptures. I assume the two-dimensional work, which looks like fourth generation Pop Art, sells but it feels like a dead end. No amount of lesbian kiss imagery, and this show was chocked full of it, can save them.

Faile’s Bedtime Stores ran from November 4 to December 23, 2010 at Perry Rubenstein Gallery (527 West 23rd Street Gallery, Manhattan)

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

5 replies on “Sleepy Time for Faile at Perry Rubenstein”

  1. I don’t fully agree with that. While there were certainly a few duds on exhibit, there were one or two pieces that were to my eye startling, such as that one of the gal holding the dead dove. (OTOH, even that was technically a sort of sculpture as it was made out of assembled blocks.)
    Maybe they needed Aiko to be more consistent.

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