“Homegrown” is the sort of cute, cacophonous show you’d expect to kick off a summer in Chelsea. In the hotter months, galleries traditionally loosen up their profit-driven programs, handing the curatorial reins over to an extramural someone, ostensibly to bring in new blood. Here, David Krut Projects (a book publisher and print dealer) plays host to a show conceived by Renee Riccardo, a savvy roving curator with a good eye for fresh talent (Rachel Harrison, Wangechi Mutu, and Paul Henry Ramirez count among her discoveries). Back when Riccardo ran a salon/gallery out of her living room in Cobble Hill, she made the most of a little space. At Krut, in a room not much bigger, she’s amassed 34 works by 20 artists, all under the theme of DIY “homegrown” work made with domestic or recycled materials. The artists will be new to most, but the theme, sadly, won’t: A cheeky return to craftsiness has gotten long play in Williamsburg and Chelsea, too much of it veering into the abject and overly self-indulgent, as it does here.
It’s hard to parse out a sense of purpose amid the rainbow-colored pom-poms, the crocheted yarn, the drippy Day-Glo candles, the Sculpey, and the tendril-sprouting thingies made with tiny pieces of foam. But eventually a handful of artists emerge—and you’ll want to say you saw them here first. Scott Andresen, who has a strong sense of positive and negative space, quilts an abstract wall sculpture that incorporates the urban grid of his native Williamsburg. Well-known graffiti artist Greg Lamarche makes spare and graphically elegant collages out of found text. Adia Millett distinguishes herself with an astute mix of needlework and glyph-like forms. And Jasmine Zimmerman makes the best piece of all,
Please Touch, out of hundreds of colorful rubber bands pulled taut as if in one-point perspective. It’s part rigor, part fun. Twang it and the bands dance around.
A few others are worth watching, especially to see what they’ll do once the climate for obsessive art passes. But it ain’t set to change for a while. So enjoy summer—the small craft are out.