Luhring Augustine holds forth, a garrison mirage, on Bushwick’s Knickerbocker Avenue. After several hours of 56 Bogart bohemia, that grey facade, all frosted glass and sleek surveillance, seemed less sinister than inviting, the kind of joint a down-to-earth oligarch might pass the time after putting his name down at Roberta’s. The Chelsea gallery’s outpost is perhaps cartoonishly out of place, but who cares. Their books-and-posters sale, timed to coincide with Bushwick Open Studios, has them dumping an excellent assortment of old and surplus stock, largely at cut-rate prices. “If you were cynical, you could put it all on eBay,” said one gallerist in soft Commonwealth tones as he swiped a customer’s haul through a leatherbound iPad.
Yes, the deals are downright Yeltsinian. In the anteroom before the main exhibition space, an assortment of books are piled on two tables, and posters cover the walls. Many titles were discounted some 75% or more from retail, with prices on books mostly ranging from $5 to $35, while posters were divided, by wall, into $5 and $10 categories. (A few “rare” posters, including one for Jack Pierson, were excepted from this scheme.)
Both selections are heavy on Christopher Wool; this might displease people who hate Christopher Wool. Quoth one lady, who announced, half to her friend, half to everyone else, and largely apropos of nothing: “I still don’t understand why Christopher Wool is a famous artist.”
Regardless of where you stand on Wool, there are other fishes here. Josh Smith’s leaden, multi-booklet Abstraction, offered at $5, was pound-for-pound the best deal. I passed on Smith but bought one of two remaining copies of Elad Lassry’s whimsical On Onions at the equally whimsical price of $5.
One can skip the commerce altogether and walk through to the hangar-like exhibition space, currently showing Atlas, Kahrs, Mucha, Whiteread, which continues until June 16. In the spare monumentality of only six works, the show provides a respite from the clustered onslaught elsewhere in Bushwick. And it’s frigid in there.
Luhring Augustine Book Sale! runs for its second and final day today, June 2, from 12-6 pm at Luhring Augustine Bushwick (25 Knickerbocker Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn).