Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Now that I've seen it in person, Koh's work is best part of the Boone show

Last week ArtCat published my one-on-one email interview with Terence Koh. In it, Koh was his ever-loquacious self, but there was something different about him. Perhaps it's the new era in which we now find ourselves, but Koh came across as humbled, and perhaps a bit fearful of what may come next. With the inclusion of his 21-foot long urinal in the KKK (Kelley, Koh and Koons) show curated by Javier Peres at Mary Boone, he might just be the first successful Humpty Dumpty of the art world. He can take a heavy beating, cracks showing on the surface, but then put himself back together in a stronger new formation.

I love the feeling of reinvention, and strength shown here. Koh's answers to many of my questions showed a vulnerability I certainly did not expect and am quite grateful for. But truthfully, in terms of art with meaning, Koh is doing a great job in this show compared to the more whimsical objects de arte of Koons and Kelley. Of course there will be R. Mutt comparisons, but I don't necessarily see that. Dig deeper and what you'll find is a replica of an upscale Chelsea nightclub bathroom fixture, exposing its damaged goods for all to see, much like its many patrons. The pristine white surface shatters before us with every crevice in spider-vein-like detail. The fissures seem to be more a commentary on what we take with us-- experience-- each crack symbolizing a piece of us gradually wearing away.

Kelley and Koons, on the other hand, seem to be channeling Paul McCarthy's butt plugs and 1950s kitsch more than anything with their new works. As always, Koons works with the hyper shine of stainless steel-- this time serving as the bartender friend in the corner making us the best mojito your money can buy, if Frisch's Big Boy was your waiter.

Kelley, below, conjures up images of the Ice Queen's castle in Narnia, or far more likely the offerings of a Lower East Side sex shop. The show runs through May 16th at Boone. It's definitely worth checking out.

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