While it can be a burden on the senses to read seven books at once, or see half a dozen movies in a day, or flip the remote control from one dull channel to the next, to glide around town and confront one art object after another can be exhilarating. It is the secret pleasure of our world.
The new Lawrence Weiner installation at the Museum of Modern Art transforms the third floor hallway above the Sculpture Garden into a series of large portholes dotted by triple XXXs, a droll joke on the conceptual show, "In & Out of Amsterdam: 1960-1976," which just debuted at MoMA, large glory holes redolent of air and the nicest piece Larry has ever done.
"Something there is that doesn’t love a wall," Robert Frost surmised, but exception is made for the wall on West 19th Street outside Postmasters, site of Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung’s In God We Trust, a large street hanging that is hands down the best Obama image that will ever be done, featuring Barack presiding as a blissful Buddha. Don’t steal it, Chelsea punks, OK? For those who love black and will never go back, around the corner at Alexander and Bonin, you will find Seth Price’s Black Polyurethene Flower, which looks as if the rubber hit the road by way of somebody’s garden.
At Leo Koenig Inc., painter Bill Saylor, guest artist at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Tex., had a mild stroke preparing for his show (he’s now better) and produced four super post-stroke landscapes in the "Sunrise Cotton" series, that can be seen in the rear of the gallery. They are arrangements of brown grass, lizards and an amusing ventricle heart, showing that what didn’t kill Bill made him a better artist. At the LGBT Center on West 13th Street, photographer Robert Murphy, in a group show, exhibits gorgeous pix of the young boys of Choco, Colombia, at play. What’s even better: they are priced at $325 apiece.
A little more expensive, but not by much, are Shannon Bool’s framed dreams at Tracy Williams, full of found faces overlaid with autumn patterns. They reminded me of the clear blue grid by Jan Dibbetts in MoMA’s Amsterdam show, depicting the day passing hour by hour as seen through the window of a house. A captured piece of time.
Finally, a few months back, I urged that institutions continue to screen Janet Biggs’ Vanishing Point, her video study of setting the land-speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats, along with fat white males and an all black choir. It unspooled at the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden last week to a standing-room-only audience, after which Biggs and modal musician Anthony Gonzales of M83 improvised, mixing his physically aural drones with her computer-projected vids of trapped beings dancing under water, wrestling angels and reaching for the sky. If you can continue to enjoy art like this, who needs money?
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).