We spent last Saturday afternoon, a hot one, sitting under a trellis in a Tribeca cul-de-sac, smelling the lavender in the trees, observing a daddy longlegs and reflexively, from childhood, blowing a ladybug off the elbow for good luck.
We could have attended any number of group shows in Chelsea, where few, if any, galleries have air conditioning. Instead, we wistfully thought of the old days when Leo Castelli sat at Pleiades, declared that summer had begun, and all the galleries shut down until September.
Oh, a few spaces would assemble desultory group shows from the inventory for the occasional Wednesday tourist, but today the engines of Chelsea continue to burn, with curators accommodating old lovers, new MFAs, people they owe favors to and mediocrities they don't.
Many of these shows include current Whitney fave Luis Gispert, a nice guy whose work has all the profundity of a stale cup of coffee.
There's a truly ugly Gispert of two women's knees in Rebekah Merrill's otherwise OK curation at Caren Golden, as well as some third-rate Jessica Craig-Martin snaps of horse-faced socialites. The standout here is Richard Dupont's lifesize fiberglass statue of himself, sort of Gavin Turk bisected, then joined together, like Gabriel Orozco's car.
Curator and critic David Hunt continues to let his wrongheaded obsession with the discourse drive him to new heights of visual ugliness at Silverstein, although the show includes nice, decorative candy-paintings by Danielle Tegeder and Amy Myers.
Moving on group-wise, there's a mishmash of bad Minimal painting and Craig-Martin imitation C-prints at Andrea Rosen, curated by a dude named Connelly, and Sara Meltzer aborts video once more with continuous loops on a circle of television sets on the gallery floor. So relaxing, huh?
If you must see a contemporary show in New York this summer, for sheer comfort and pleasure, nothing beats Suite 106, a gallery at the Milburn Hotel (76th Street off Broadway, Monday through Thursday, 11-6, through July 27, get there early).
Here, one can lie on a bed or sofa, in cool air-conditioned bliss, and view Kelly Lamb's brilliant, brilliant, brilliant half-hour film, Love Not Lost, over and over. You can even order room service!
Love Not Lost is the video equivalent of Fragonard's exquisite painting The Pursuit, at the Frick Collection, in which a young swain gracefully chases his pink, bedewed intended, who is slackly guarded by her equally beautiful young Dianidas.
As Lamb spins her wool, equally ardent men woo and pursue beautiful females through vast, verdant estates, parking garages and tiny apartments, under long, wistful jet streams and green cheese moons.
Lamb, a sexy genius herself, never allows irony, or the discourse, or aging, sourpussed art critics, or the lemonsuckers at Artforum to get in the way of a wry old good time.
Her cast of professional actors, crisp cinematography, unerring love of the color spectrum, and saucy, cathouse humor never fail.
So, if you hunger for a show, try Suite 106 and sample the luxury that is Lamb -- otherwise, it's life that's on exhibit until September.