A solo exhibition of works by Mark Lombardi at Pierogi gallery in Williamsburg, feels very timely. Maybe I’m into the paranoia-inducing conspiracy charts because New York’s just-ended art fair week, our own glimpse into the vastness of the international art world, reminded me that there are whole webs of infinite complex connections to the worlds and communities we inhabit. Lombardi’s intricate, highly-researched drawings are clear presentations of information that forces us to rethink how we see ourselves in relation to our political atmosphere.
There’s the stuff everyone is applauding … yawn … but that’s boring, we want to point out some things that are under most people’s radar and why they deserve some notice. Here’s our list of the 9 Most Underappreciated Art Shows & Events in New York during 2010.
Filling an entire gallery with the repeated face of Osama Bin Laden might sound like a bit of Warholian task for an artist interested in interrogating politics: an international criminal turned celebrity. But James Esber’s exhibition You, Me and Everybody Else at Pierogi in Williamsburg actually aims to do exactly the opposite. By repeating Osama’s image so many times, Esber seeks to remove the political content from the image, simplifying into just a visual work of art. The real trick? The Osama portraits aren’t even drawn by the artist. By asking artists and non-artists alike to copy his original portrait, Esber blurs the line between subject and meaning.
This indie fair of seven galleries with solid programs — and some art stars among them — have created a wonderful little side fair that has a well-organized area for video works (which is both inviting and well spaced), a space for the #Rank event (which we’ve mentioned before), rooms for work by various artists to talk to one another (some better than others), but most importantly an attempt to collide gallery stables to see what they could come up with together (most notably on one wall covered salon style with pieces from the whole constellation of “Seven” artists).
Did all the artists fit perfectly together? No, but this is an art fair and not a curated exhibition. It was good to see some galleries try something that felt interesting and less commercial than the run-of-the-mill art fairs.
If you walked into the backroom exhibition space at Pierogi you might be forgiven for thinking you had just walked into a children’s room decorated by Werner Herzog and John Waters, by which I mean it is a sordid, moody, desperate, joyous, and campy. No really.