Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lower East Side Gallery Notes: Juergen Teller at Lehman Maupin, Thomas Øvlisen at Klaus von Nichtssagend, Ian Tweedy at Untitled, Jon Kessler at Salon 94, and Marble Sculpture at Sperone Westwater

Juergen Teller is a highlight among current exhibitions in the Lower East Side. Teller’s photographs, typically taken with a point and shoot camera, offer an intoxicating mix of baroque sexuality, beauty, deadpan comedy, innocence, and old world decadence. I’ve always admired his ability to express a sophisticated vision through the simplest of means. A side note about the show: I really liked the understated presentation. Too many photographers these days get sidetracked by unnecessarily fetishizing the physical aspects of the photograph, which comes off as both automatic and insecure.

Juergen Teller at Lehman Maupin, 201 Chrystie St., through March 17.

Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery is showing hybrid painting-sculptures by Thomas Ovlisen. A strong sense of facture dominates the work, drawing the viewer in through some lyrical passages reminiscent of Richter’s squeegee paintings or Stephen Ellis’ scrapings. Notwithstanding their clear object-ness, I read them more as 4-sided paintings.  They do have an interesting presence, vaguely suggestive of a personage despite their thoroughly industrial surface. One last detail, not immediately obvious, that I ended up really intrigued by: the tops and bottoms of the planks are covered with a painted coconut husk mat, providing a contrasting texture and unexpected foil to the slickness of the sides. I look forward to seeing more work by this interesting artist.



Thomas Ovlisen, Tomato, through March 4, 2012 at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 54 Ludlow St.

Also worth a look are the visually inventive paintings by Ian Tweedy. Tweedy works on top of the covers of paperback books and upon the backs of thrift store paintings, which imbue a history and weight to his mysterious dystopian images.

Ian Tweedy, A Long Story, at Untitled, 30 Orchard St., through February 26.

My impression of Jon Kessler’s The Blue Period was mixed. When I first saw Kessler’s work in the early 90’s, I really liked it. He made elegant and playful work that spoke to the interface between technology and popular culture. The video part of his current show at Salon 94 seems didactic and technologically dated, and doesn't transcend the spectacle it is meant to critique. On the other hand, the framed paper collages on the walls are engaging. The show has its moments. Take a look and see for yourself.

none of these people are real

there are some clever moments

Jon Kessler, The Blue Period, at Salon 94, 243 Bowery, through March 10.

Finally, there is an amazing show at Sperone Westwater cataloging the various ways marble has been used by artists.

Marble Sculpture from 350 B.C. to last week, at Sperone Westwater, 257 Bowery, through February 25.    

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