Well attended by mostly middle-aged peole last Sunday afternoon, the Bruce High Quality Foundation's "Brucennial" turned out to be the real thrift-shop biennial, full of raffishly aggressive bad art, some star turns by the likes of James Nares and Julian Schnabel, and a few modest surprises of quality. And unlike its uptown brother at the Whitney, the Bruce art is overtly for sale. Here is a rundown of some of the good stuff.
Michelle Scourtos' sock-puppet Empire State Building in wry red, white and blue, is a reasonable $1,100. Nathalie Shepherd's Bugs Bunny wall relief on a watermelon sign is a steal at $400.
Elana Scherr provides a small oil study of a sea lion sucking a pacifier, deightful at $650. Tha Daddy Collective's project of surveying gallery traffic with concealed cameras is featured in a flowering vase priced at $2,000. Ally Miller of Daddy was repairing the camera when I stopped by. She reminded me that I purchased an 80-pound bronze octopus from her, when she was a Cooper Union student, in 2005.
Aga Olissienov's photo of an ocarina-shaped dirigible, right out of a Depression-era movie, did not yet have a posted price. Olivier Mosset's one-inch-square painting of a black circle should be priced, but wasn't. Bryan Jones' marvelous gouache of penis-shaped stalagmites is exactly pegged, "Price Is Right" style, at $234.56.
I loved Geoff Carter's charcoal black study of an ultimate fighter in his corner for $3,000. Boxing far oustrips sex as a Brucennial subject by the way. Roland Allmeyer's swirling dirt green volcano painting is a little overpriced at $2,500. Perhaps you can talk him down. Hilary Doyle's conservative painting of a woman reading in her study is nevertheless structurally complex at $850.
Many of you will find your friends included in this scraggly show. Mine number Kika Karadi, Vincent Romaniello and Artnet Magazine contributor Elliott Arkin. Kudos to all the Brucers. The show is up for another five weeks.
"The Brucennial 2010: Miseducation," Feb. 26-Apr. 12, 2010, at 350 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10013.
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).