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Male Guilt and Damp Butts Required: A New Art Show in the LES

Wait 'til you read the full name of this new art show, featuring work from Rhys Bambrick, Marisa Olson, Rachel Zaretsky, and Jenny Santos.

by Alyssa Buffenstein
Mar 9 2016, 9:25pm

Rachel Zaretsky, “I Fall to Pieces (Mothers Version)” (2016), Still Image from Video, Courtesy of the artist

“I’ve put a show together with two new friends whose names I googled after they left their contact information on the sign in sheets at the gallery I work at,” explains curator Lily Roche. A not so conventional form of gathering art accompanies a not so conventional art show, with a title only rivaled by mid-2000s pop punk song titles:    

THE VALUE OF THE PRODUCT OF THE PERIOD or VALUE OF THE PRODUCT OF THE PERIOD or PRODUCTS OF SOCIAL MEMORY or PRODUCTS OF VALID MEMORY or PRODUCTS OF VALUED MEMORY

It takes place at a non-commercial space on Grand Street. Of the artists, Roche says, “They were chosen because each artist produces work that explores the relationships we foster between time, memory, space, standards, and technology.”

First off, the space has been given a makeover by Jenny Santos. Thinking about the tropes of the white cube and the alternative space, she cleaned and painted half the room, while leaving all traces of former tenants, like scuff marks on the walls, on the other, preserving the memory of the room’s past lives while conforming to the contemporary standards of the white cube.

“My work is about the tension between individual desires and the societal expectations which promote a “succeed or fail” view of life. To this end, I alter architectural structures and create scenarios to assert unexpected circumstances and conflicting results which disrupt the viewer’s existing perceptions of the status quo,” Santos explains.

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Rhys Bambrick, “Meat Sweats” (2015). Image courtesy the artist

Inside of Santos’ installation will be works by artists including Rhys Bambrick, a sculptor who updates classical-styled works with experiences of the contemporary American male. Meat Sweats, for example, is a self-portrait in the form of a fountain, inspired by the Belvedere Torso, that gives the effect of a sweating male torso cut off at the arms, legs, and head.

“Heftier than its classical counterpart, this 'Dad Bod' specimen possesses the ability to perspire from its myriad and tiny pores,” Bambrick says of the work. “Witness, now, this secular miracle.  As our expectations between male and female beauty widen, he 'weeps' with the sweat of collective anxiety and guilt.”

Zooming forward in time to work with e-waste is artist Marisa Olson, known for her coinage of the term “post-internet art”. She will feature some of her Time Capsules, pieces of outdated technology spray-painted gold, described on her flickr as “sculptures, often exhibited in site-specific assemblages resembling landfill or garbage piles... endangered units of time.”

Rachel Zaretsky, “On Damp Butts: Conditions for watching I Fall to Pieces (Mothers Version)”, 2016, Text. Image courtesy of the artist

Rachel Zaretsky’s installation, I Fall to Pieces (Mother’s Version), is a video work all in blue, with a roving cursor and audio of the artist’s mother singing a capella to Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces.” The kicker is the installation: Zaretsky wrote instructions for viewing the video, which necessitate the viewer sit on a slightly damp seat. She even adapted the instructions for viewers at home, so be sure to read the above instructions very carefully for maximum effect. And maybe have a change of pants ready.

The opening of THE VALUE OF THE PRODUCT OF THE PERIOD or VALUE OF THE PRODUCT OF THE PERIOD or PRODUCTS OF SOCIAL MEMORY or PRODUCTS OF VALID MEMORY or PRODUCTS OF VALUED MEMORY takes place from 6-8 PM on March 10 at 286 Grand Street.

The show runs until March 20, and there will be a closing reception with readings by David Fishkind, Natasha Stagg, and Bryce Gates; and Giovanna Olmos will perform another rendition of “How to Sell a Digital Painting.”

Related:

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