Imagine yourself in an anxiety dream. Bald allusions to sex and carnality are everywhere, with an obsessive focus on the violence latent in any intimate crossing of borders or shifting of roles. But nothing feels solid or real. And then, like an afterimage, you wake up to cool and refreshing sublimation, immaculate in its artifice but no less sincere: “Minty,” once the name of performance artist Leigh Bowery’s band, now the name of a drag character performed by artist Matt Savitsky as well as of this group show curated by Ebony L. Haynes. “You have to see everything,” Mr. Savitsky’s “drag mother” (his mentor in drag) tells him while correcting his makeup in the artist’s short video Screen Test #1. “You have to see everything.” To practice his makeup application, Mr. Savitsky also cast his own face in plaster: Untitled (Part of Room Face Realness) consists of the artist’s face, doubled and upside down, made up to and beyond lifelike with foundation and purple lipstick, lips pursed around short pieces of white PVC pipe—like the pipe the artist breathed through while casting—and swinging from a thick black rope. “You have to see everything,” Mr. Savitsky mouths uncertainly to himself as the video ends.
There’s a thin line between suggestive paradox and resignation, but “HMV” manages to walk it. Organized by independent curator Alexander Shulan, the exhibition is named after the 1968 Stanislaw Lem novel His Master’s Voice, which follows a group of scientists who fail to interpret a signal from outer space because they can’t keep from projecting themselves onto it.
Among the areas of West Chelsea hardest hit when Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York at the end of October was West 27th Street, between 11th and 12th Avenues, which is home to five contemporary art galleries. Thankfully, all five—Wallspace, Foxy Production, Derek Eller, Jeff Bailey and Winkleman—have repaired their spaces and are reopening on Saturday, Jan. 12.
FOR THE TEXAN collaborative team of Jeff Shore and Jon Fisher, the camera obscura has been displaced as a metaphor by a surveillance-state Moebius strip. Everything is exposed for peering at, but there is no outside from which to peer in. Their new installation Trailer, currently biding its time in Derek Eller Gallery, consists of five ceiling-mounted projectors throwing five blank, digitally pixelated rectangles, each tinted a different color, onto or beside five groups of 17 wall-mounted plywood boxes, six power strips, and innumerable wires, caps, circuits and LED lights. The wires, whose elegant parallels and polite crossings bring to mind a schematic subway map, lead up the walls and across the ceiling to a secret control room in the back.