Greater Expectations

Parker's painting signals a nice subclique of mad diagrammers. Mark Lombardi, at 48 the oldest artist in the show (the youngest is 23), likes to track the monetary machinations of shady characters. Here he includes the research and preparatory sketches used to make the large diagram on view that has something to do with a bank scandal (see George Bush and Saddam Hussein do business). Terence Gower's idea of shadiness hits closer to home. Cutting up art reviews (mine included), he graphs the emotional ups and downs he imagines the artist subject might have. Elsewhere, you can see the initial stages of Dylan Stone's magical-impossible project: to photograph every building in Manhattan; or the raw, hysterical drawings that track Elizabeth Campbell's wild imagination. Beginning with her December 6 P.S.1 studiovisit, thought lines split into scores of branches; one leads to "recognition," another to broken marriage, bad body image, and an inability to reach orgasm. Talk about racing thoughts.

I imagine Campbell taking a moment in the empty room that plays host to Stephen Vitiello's sibilant sound piece, looking out the window at Manhattan, and drifting away; or sitting in front of Jeremy Blake's hypnotic changing video/painting with soundtrack, down in the basement. She might even be thankful for Ricci Albenda's sexy Dr. Caligari installation in the boiler room.

Upstairs, Ellen Gallagher makes unexpected connections between race and formalism in an untitled shiny black canvas that could be called The Sidelong Glance, because the only way you can see the silhouette on its surface is by standing to one side. From here, if you look up you will see one of the show's better moments: Do-Ho Suh's marvelous life-size house, a ghost of his childhood home in Korea, sewn in translucent, iridescent celadon silk.

Do-Ho Suh's Seoul Home/L.A. Home (1999) and, at rear, Michelle Lopez’s Boy (1999) at P.S.1
photo: Robin Holland
Do-Ho Suh's Seoul Home/L.A. Home (1999) and, at rear, Michelle Lopez’s Boy (1999) at P.S.1

Details

Greater New York
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center
22-26 Jackson Avenue
Long Island City
Through May 16

Many other artists deserve mention. Shahzia Sikander's small Indian-style temperas, more formally and psychologically wrought than ever; Jimbo Blachly's wooden-block doorway installation, one of the few messy-ish pieces; Karen Yasinsky's crude, stop-action animation of skullduggery; Roxy Paine's meticulous, artificial mushroom field; Jesse Bransford's gigantic wall drawing of paranoid America; Sermin Kardestuncer's stitched floor; Francis Cape's carpenter interventions; Julie Mehretu's sensually autistic map painting; Javier Tellez's birdhouse as insane asylum; Adriana Arenas's wacky, cotton-candy karaoke video; and Jennifer Bornstein's mini-mini-cineplex.

Regardless of this show's shortcomings, it is probably a looser, bigger, more representative look at current New York art than MOMA on its own would allow, and it's definitely a brighter, tighter, less polemical show than P.S.1, left to its own devices, could have managed. Whatever else you think about it, "Greater New York" bodes well for their experimental marriage.

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