featured gallery for February 2009

In the Flesh

"Darlin' darlin' darlin'
I can't wait to see you
Your picture ain't enough
I can't wait to touch you in the flesh
Darlin' darlin' darlin'
I can't wait to hear you
Remembering your love
Is nothing without you in the flesh"

-- "In The Flesh," Blondie

These paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures form a scrapbook of New York City by a handful of the thousands upon thousands of artists who have lived and loved here. They are flâneurs, looking at the city from multiple vantage points and at all hours: rooftop, windowsill, busy avenue, dark corner, dark bar, broad daylight, and 3 a.m. Theirs is a private version of New York City, unlikely to find its way into any guidebook. These are visual love letters.

Luis Carle shows an aerial view of the gay pride parade, its revelry reduced to pure geometry. Ricardo Morin's mixed media paintings are abstract, angular interpretations of the metropolis in action, lending a voyeuristic sensation. Robert Miles Parker, Martin Wong and James Romberger drew and painted intersections, storefronts and backyards, memorializing the anonymous, while David Wojnarowicz, under the mask of Rimbaud, roamed the Meatpacking District in its pre-gentrified days.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres's billboard made public the tender scene of a freshly slept-in bed he shared with his lover, installed shortly after his lover passed away from AIDS-related illness. Tony Feher's sculptural installation transports the sentimentality of the everyday with simple objects -- marble, soap, cans and bottles. Casually propped on the windowsill, at the artist's home or studio, they are imbued with quietude and longing. They protect the artist from and link him to the world beyond.

Jose Luis Cortes's sexualized reworking of a Christie's ad contemplates and confounds the exchange of body, art and money. Sex as art, and art as commerce. And sometimes desire glimmers in the flash of a jockstrap in the darkest bar, as with John Morrison and Vincent Cianni's documents of life after dark. The pleasurable abandon is palpable. Once again, we are conscious of ourselves as sensual beings, a promise that if we continue to feel, touch, love, perhaps nothing will ever be lost or taken from us.

Finally, Bruce Crastley's 1976, flash-lit photo of an ice block is transcendent and mesmerizing. A moment frozen in time. The future is impossible to know. Will the ice melt away or stay the same?