Weekend Art Viewing

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008 | Art

Emily and I went gallery-hopping this weekend. I hope Emily gets to be famous one day, she already looks so much like a rock star. She has one of those Julie Christie/Charlotte Rampling faces that is going to age so well, too. Deborah Oropallo was showing at Stephen Wirtz. Stephen engaged me in a conversation about her surfaces, which I think are redundant, but he thinks make sense. She covers her layered portrait-history-porno-photo/paintings with a thick sealer, but in an intentionally sloppy way to draw our attention to the surface that she’s already engaged us with pictorially. It confuses me. The surface just diverts my attention from the work, or confirms its relation to a certain type of mass-produced painting without letting me go anywhere else, but really, enough about her, Jess was showing at Anglim, along with images by his lover, the poet Robert Duncan. Made mostly during the 50’s, and with crayons and pencil, the work is a gentle immersion into their sensual and beautiful and literary world. John O’Reilly was showing at Hosfelt, with surfaces that really made sense, confounding an easy reading of his process, or of his complex imagery. Each image creates a fragmented but perfectly contained experience of longing and history and solitude and beauty, but held together with such a delicate tension that it seems poised to fall apart in front of you. Lee Friedlander’s photos at Fraenkel of his trips across the US were all taken from the inside of his car. He doesn’t ever get out, making overt the limit of his experience to the visual.

On Sunday BC and I had lunch with my sister DiDi at the deYoung and toured the Gilbert & George show. I just love them. So much of their work makes me laugh and gigggle and squirm and think. There are a few vitrines at the end of the show that display early work, when they thought of themselves and their actions as sculpture. They had this really brief moment of figuring out what they were going to do, and bam, they’ve been doing it ever since–for 40 years, and in the same outfits and in the same neighborhood and the same bodies. Their art is an art for the masses, that you can think about as much or as little as you want or need to, like stained glass windows made out of hand-painted photos. And gay! Not liking their work is like kicking a poodle.

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