ITSA SMALL, SMALL WORLD
Family Business, 520 W 21st St, Chelsea, NY
Curated by Hennessy Youngman
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, I can unequivocally say that I do indeed have a piece on exhibition in a Chelsea gallery AS WE SPEAK! Feel free to take a second to soak in how grand that sounds before I explain the circumstances...
Ok, done soaking? Feels nice, huh? So here's the scoop: A brand new gallery has opened in Chelsea called Family Business. Self appointed artist/critic/youtube personality Hennessy Youngman was asked to do something special for this comically small glorified closet of a gallery. This was his solution...
Considering my participation in the show would most likely be dismissed as resume fodder anyway, I couldn't help but do the most tounge-in-cheek thing I could think of. Might as well at least have a good story to answer the question "so what did you submit," right?
Given the fact that the show essentially functions to make artwork disappear in the first place, I decided to preemptively coopt that circumstance. My submission for this gloriously ridiculous show was a wall text for an equally glorious piece of art that doesn't actually exist. So assuming you can find the 6x7 foam-core placard at all, you'd see a text describing an immersive, experiential, transcendent piece of installation art. But of course the corresponding construct is nowhere to be found. I've always wanted to do this, and this show seemed the perfect outlet!
The title alludes to the fact that the truth of the piece exists in the word only, and in the undercurrent reason and logic that allows it to exist as an extension of your imagination and experience. The materials are a rough approximation of everything that may be in its vicinity, subsuming all of the rest of the show's art into the materials for my installation. In light of that, if read carefully and taken as metaphor, the text does actually describe the experience of being in the gallery itself with a spiritually aware perspective. So essentially it is up to the viewer whether or not the piece exists; the text is entirely farcical, but includes no lies.
On Friday I went and dropped of the piece. As you can see, the 125 square foot gallery is no wider than the shot, and Hennessy (in the red hat) stands at the back wall! 6 of them would have fit inside my old one bedroom apartment (which my wife and I promptly outgrew with the addition of a cat)!
Much to my dismay, I was not able to attend the opening yesterday, but here's a video from documenting the event. Seems there were over 500 submissions and probably nearly as many people in attendance, apparently ranging from the likes of college students to legendary critic Jerry Saltz, Maurizio Cattelan, and Marilyn Minter!
In truth, as easy as it may seem to write off this exhibit, I'm inclined to believe that Hennessy Youngman is in fact brilliant, and has accomplished something the New York art scene may never be able to accomplish again: the demystification and destratification of the Chelsea gallery, unmasking it for what it has always been underneath all the politics and pretense - a place to show and see art. His show tears through social barriers and shoves the red tape of privilege and access in the shredder. He may be ridiculous, but he's the real deal.
I encourage you to go check it out while the show is up! It promises to be worth the experience!