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Back to Reviews 96

AC2K's Old Navy
window work


The SoHo Grand


AC2K's Drawing
Center Window box


The anti-hotel

A close up view

AC2K's version of the
Scharf Shak

One of Todd Oldham's

Attributed to Basquiat

Chelsea dealers
Pat Hearn and Matthew
in a detail
from the AC2K photo

A snack machine

Fertility goddess

at american fine arts

by William McCollum
The sign in front of American Fine Arts

"STOP THE MEGA HOTEL!" protests the looming

new Soho Grand Hotel that recently opened a

block away on West Broadway. Or does it?

And the gallery window is soaped over, with

a sign announcing the coming of a new Old

Navy Clothing store. Dealer Colin de Land

may be down on his luck, but could it be

this bad? What we have here, in fact, is

the fourth consecutive summer exhibition by

AC2K, the artist collective formerly known

as Art Club 2000. The exhibition, titled

"SoHo So Long", a purported investigation

of the move of many downtown art dealers to

West Chelsea [see Gallery Yenta for

details], is on view through August 31.

The sign outside American Fine Arts

actually pleads "STOP on in if staying at

THE MEGA HOTEL." And the soaped-up window

is a parody of the storefront of the long-

under-construction Mercer Hotel on Prince

Street, which promises the imminent opening

of a J. Crew store. Outside as well is a

gray flower box painted with the logo of

the Drawing Center, a replica of the one

found up the street at the real Drawing

Center. Upon entering the gallery, one must

pass through plywood portals, which turn

out to be a recreated Scharf Shak facade.

Inside, the installation looks like a cross

between a tourist information center and a

dormitory lounge, featuring a snack

machine, two fans (possibly dedicated to

the art-world's hardest working

unrepresented artists, (Liz + Val) and red

couches on loan from Todd Oldham, whose

store opened up the block a few years ago.

At the opening AC2K served soda pop and

cookie versions of the multi-breasted

bronze "goddess" on Prince Street. Also on

view, the famous painting on particleboard

found by artist Simon Cerigo in a dumpster at

Spring and Mercer, that is possibly a work

by Jean-Michel Basquiat--it does have his

pseudonym, Samo, written on it, and is

priced at $50,000.

Central to the show is a large, panoramic

light box with a group portrait of SoHo and

Chelsea gallerists, staring somewhat

defiantly back at the viewer. Additional

color photographs of former and current

Soho denizens adorn two adjacent walls.

There's Ileana Sonnabend in front of 420

West Broadway. See Chelsea dealer Carol

Greene in front of Aveda on Spring Street.

And there's Colin de Land pumping gas at

Gaseteria. On tables in front of these

couches are interviews with various art-

world movers and shakers, waxing

philosophical, optimistic and nostalgic

about SoHo and Chelsea, from sentimental

memories about Blimpie's iced coffee to the

relief that Chelsea offers from the

changing SoHo demographics. Occasionally

they also reveal the self-love, self-

loathing and self-denial involved in the

art world.

Art Club 2000 presents a Haacke

Lite examination of Warhol's idea that

being good at business is the most

fascinating kind of art. Whether identity

is determined through niche marketing (as

in the group's earlier "Gap lifestyle"

photo series) or Manhattan gallery geography

as it relates to the world (as here)

AC2K successfully X-rays the inner workings

of the art machine's latest model.

"SoHo So Long", American Fine Arts, 22

Wooster St., NY, NY 10012, July 25-Aug. 31, 1996.

William McCollum is a New York artist who

writes on art and music.

Back to Reviews 1996 Archives