Through June 27. Outsider Art Fair, 150 Wooster Street, Manhattan, (212) 327-3338, outsidedartfair.com.
As the ongoing pandemic recedes, there’s a streamlined, tabletop version of the “super-rough” Outsider Art Fair. handpicked by japanese artist Takashi Murakami, in collaboration with the fair’s owner, Andrew Adeline, this year’s edition is medium-specific: Everything is sculptural, plus some wall reliefs. Most of its 250 works are overcrowded on a hip-high pedestal 60 feet long and 7 feet across. Large painted cardboard models of Kambel Smith’s Capitol Building and Tom Duncan’s miniature mechanized panorama of Coney Island are given their floor space.
The result is close to spectacular, like the cream skimmed an average art fair and presented without any booths or aisles and much walking. The 28 participating dealers are mostly from the New York area; Artists themselves come from far and wide.
Things are loosely arranged according to the material on the pedestal. On the front, a piece of imposing carved woodwork comes plain, such as the haunting bust of Moses Ogden, or painted, such as the totem of Gaston Chisack. Midway, a nest of textile-oriented works emerge, most notably Judith Scott’s fabulous wrapped-yarn piece; Yumiko Kawai’s colorfully embroidered mounds; And the aerated landscapes of Ryuji Nomoto’s Gossamer Threads — strings of glue really. Then the carved stone is announced by the imaginary creatures of Alican Abdullahi, the trompe l’oeil painted papier-mâché. Chomo (Roger Chomo) carves stone with painted plaster-skimmed concrete. The material triumphs in four brutal, beautifully carved limestone or alabaster gargoyle-like heads, known as the Marble Fawn, by Jerry Torrey. Ceramics make their presence felt with the textured creatures of Shinichi Sawada; Allen Constable’s luminous camera and Seni Awa camera’s double-headed, unglazed terra cotta.
No wonder, the biggest, most undocumented category is montage. It begins with blunt found-objects pieces from Lonnie Holly and Hawkins Bolden and adds to the spheres painted the face of Paul Amar and altarpieces—which resemble miniature Mardi Gras floats. Similar but more improvised intricacies are obtained in a group of memory jars covered with coins and whatnot and the lavishly robed women of Sylvain and Ghislaine Stallens. Like everything else here, they are amazed.
Through June 26. Simone Subal, 131 Bowery, Manhattan, 917-409-0612, simonesubal.com.
In Simone Subal, two fascinating new videos from Frank Heath seem to point to little-known corners of culture, in the simplest way possible.
Heather’s 23 Minutes “Crypt of Civilization” Begins by telling about a time capsule the size of a living room at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta since 1940. (Predominantly White, Christian, American) Filled with records and specimens of objects from civilization, it is to remain sealed until the year 8113. The story of the Oglethorpe Vault is narrated by Paul Hudson, its co-founder. International Time Capsule Society, which talks about other capsules it is known for.
Heath’s video has the presence and appeal of a fine documentary, with one major difference: because it is being presented as art, it has the temptation to question every “fact”. Are clips from films from the 1930s seen in “Crypts” The same clips that Oglethorpe included in his sealed safe? How could Heath know, or gain access to them? Is the film’s narrator really Hudson, a co-founder of TCS, or is he a hired actor? Are we seeing a real truth-telling or is it a Borgesian narrative framed as truth? Once mango is put on display as art, we can’t trust it for what it is: Who would want to try to pee in Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain”?
Subal’s second video, called “last will and testament,” suggests that Heath may not always feel the need to be truthful. It presents a conversation between Heath and a lawyer, in which the artist seeks advice as to how he can arrange for the disposal of the remains of his body according to all 13 statutes, from cannibalism to burial at sea. Heath’s funeral wish is so low that you’re starting to suspect that, in all he does, he’s less a master of facts than deadpan comedy.
through July 2. Andrew Krepps Gallery, 22 Cortland Alley, Manhattan; 212-741-8849, andrewkreps.com.
When they satisfy our needs and desires, what else is left of things to give? This question sits at the center of Canadian sculptor Liz Mager’s new show, “I’ve Waste My Life,” in which her passive creations are brimming with an unarmed but irresistible allure.
For more than four decades, Magor has taken stock of the physical world and rearranged its webs into supernatural combinations that speak to the calm, often emotional bonds that form between people and the stuff that fills their lives. His work has a distinct eclectic bent, and in recent years, he has walked a fine line between mordant and macabre, with items such as duffle coats, blankets, Ikea tables, as well as makeshift hybrids of sewn-together stuffed animals. Convenience and workspace.
These prefabricated workspaces are the armatures of Magor’s latest works and serve as staging equipment, on which are bolted shaggy faux fur and large silicone animal sculptures (a carefree stork, a recumbent giraffe). Resting on the shelves of these benches, as in “The Float” (2021), are much detritus: arrays of dirty wax paper and used coffee cups, small spheres and rocks – once utilitarian objects that no longer serve their intended purpose. does not fulfill. Surrounding these peculiar tableaus are replicas of weighted cardboard made of polymerized gypsum and cardboard, which lean on the gallery walls and seem to sigh with almanacs that make up Magor’s clever arrangement.
If the atmosphere of this exhibition is more monotonous than enjoyable, it speaks of a collective exhaustion that pervades even our inanimate objects, all destined to be discarded, forgotten and replaced. What’s fascinating about Magor’s configurations, however, is how they zero in on our propensity for fashion—or destroy our environment to our exact liking.