Broadsheet, The Blog

Two Lady Artists with Bees in Their Bonnets

31 March 2008

Lower East Side vs. Chelsea

We had the pleasure of visiting a dozen or so Lower East Side galleries last week, and it highlighted all the awful things about Chelsea that we have been pretending not to be bothered by for a decade now: the mega-money-ultra-modern-mall vibe, the lack of affordable food or drink, the distance from the subway, the desolate streets with a heartless lack of shade in summer and no shelter from the wind in the winter. On the Lower East Side the galleries are small and friendly, the sitting and snacking options are plentiful, and the work looks great!

We then belatedly toured the New Museum, where there was a strange (or not so) correlation between the "Collection of..." citations on the title plates for the artworks and the absurdly prevalent benefactor names embellishing almost every vertical surface. Yes, even the elevators and staircases are sponsored by the same people whose collections have just increased in value due to their inclusion in this high-profile exhibition. Quid pro quo anyone?

Also, the work kind of looked like garbage, and we are not speaking metaphorically. The bastard spawn of Rachel Harrison and Isa Genzken make their parents look so bad! We have long been fans of Ms. Harrison's work in particular, but it struggles to look serious in the context of all the poorly thought-through imitations. Is it her fault (or Nirvana's) that we have become inundated with terrible grunge art just like we suffered through the 90s with terrible grunge music?

Above is one of our favorite works from our Lower East Side tour:
Tue Greenfort, Plant Oil Circulation - After Hans Haacke 1967 2007
at Salon 94 Freemans


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