Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lower East Side Letdown

Not that long ago I was commiserating about the ever incestuous intersection of art and fashion. Well, another thing that is blurring as fast as a Mars Bar patron's eyesight is art attempting to walk the fine line between itself and the music scene-- more often than not ending up a drunken, sloven mess. And trust me, with artist Ryan Humphrey's All or Nothing exhibit, DCKT should be charged with a DUI.

I've been around enough stacks of Marshalls and Peaveys in my day and played a RAT pedal to boot. Yes, bands like to cover their gear with stickers. LOTS of stickers. Sometimes they just want to deface the beautiful cherry wood to make it look "vintage." Othertimes it's more likely they're so bombed they forgot how much the thing cost. (See above pimped-out 'Fridge as example of decadence. Apparently, beer is included in the work's purchase. Thanks, Ryan, for the refreshments.)

Just in the same way Banks Violette's homage to misguided Scandinavian youth falls to my eyeballs with a punch as powerful as an episode of According to Jim, so, too, does Humphrey's colorless exhibit. Sure, there's plenty of color. Lots of color. But where is the pigmentation?

Real color is in reality. Humphrey's work is all in fabrication-- or recreation of something "low-brow." I.E., a collector will be spending THOUSANDS to recreate the above. And that, my dear readers, is the dear departed CBGBs toilet. Historic documentation. Now it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know how much that cost to maintain the above "look"-- i.e., not much given its sail into the sunset.

In the show's press release it touts Humphrey's inclusion as a contestant on Bravo's "Top Design" as an accolade. Really, now? We've come to bragging about reality tv rosters as a reason to see an exhibition? Excuse me as I crank my DIY threshold up to 9. Humphrey is at his best when he's doing lush visuals of the Trans-Am logo upon portions of old Pontiac hoods. They're not much more than eye-candy, but at least the phoenix rising from the ashes has a meaning, and the bottle caps have fought their own good fight. The sunburst reminds me more of Superman's baby bassinett, but you gotta admit, the visual is striking.

For more art masquerading as music, go to the website: http://www.dcktcontemporary.com/

The show runs through November 1st.

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