Speaking of icons and fetish objects, my friend and colleague Kim Levin, who was an art critic at the Voice for more than 20 years, has filled the Ronald Feldman Gallery with what I consider to be almost holy relics. Pinned to the wall of the main gallery are more than 500 of Levin’s gallery itineraries. The effect is like a library, a sea of frozen prayer flags, and a journey through time. Each list has the names of galleries and artists color-coded and organized geographically by neighborhood. (One has a note that says, “Call Jerry Saltz.”)
Lining the walls of the rear gallery are Levin’s gallery notes on press releases and exhibition checklists. Artists should pay attention to her spot-on haiku reviews of their shows. An early Lisa Yuskavage one reads, “Chicks with jugs/Manned engines of ambivalence”; a Sarah Sze invite mentions “soaring/less improvisational”; a Jules de Balincourt note simply says, “still in school.” Levin is an adept sketcher, as can be seen in her delightful drawings of paintings and sculptures. More than 500 gallery announcement cards dating from the 1970s to the present allow you to trace the history of the art world in exhibition announcements and to behold the names of galleries that no longer exist and artists who have passed away.
This show is a reminder that what may be most ephemeral about the art world is the art world itself. Objects remain but everything else will one day be gone. Levin lets you see how one critic lovingly keeps track of it all.