Last week we brought you news of the first Lush Life exhibit, at Sue Scott Gallery. Today the exhibit inspired by Chapter Two: Liar, from Richard Price’s 2008 novel, opens at On Stellar Rays gallery on Orchard Street. Curated by Franklin Evans and Omar Lopez-Chahoud, the two exhibits are part of an artistic interpretation of Price’s Lush Life that spans nine Lower East Side galleries, one per chapter.
The novel, which takes place on the Lower East Side, explores the idea of segmented communities and an evolving neighborhood landscape through a crime narrative. The galleries themselves play into this idea as separate entities uniting and communicating for a single purpose.
Someone was still installing the exhibit at On Stellar Rays when I stopped by earlier, but most of it was on display, so I took a sneak peek. Like the first exhibit at Sue Scott Gallery, this one is worth checking out.
One of this exhibit’s greatest assets is the mix of mediums that are united under the chapter’s theme of deception and ambiguous interpretation. Video, photo, oil on canvas, and collage all find their place, and though each piece is a singular experience, a walk around the room is not jarring in the least.
The biggest and boldest piece is an oil on canvas painting of the word “DOUBT” by Ezra Johnson. The word is striped in loud colors and the background is covered in splotches from the same palette. It’s the first thing you see upon entering the gallery, and its message is about as subtle as a foghorn. It’s a wake-up call to pay attention and keep the Chapter Two themes of trust and distrust, misrepresentation, and lies in mind as you meander.
Another stand-out set of work, Untitled (Pepperoni Pizza Pie) I-III by Scott Hug, is displayed on two walls of the gallery. It’s playful work of collage and ink on handmade paper, and it almost seems to poke fun at the bounty of Lower East Side pizza shops while using the idea as a democratic starting point for the content: toppings in the form of tinted red “pepperoni slices” that are actually images (such as Barack Obama, a polar bear, traffic, a clock) with political, environmental, emotional, and local connotations. The pizza slices within the works are uneven in size and overlaid with images of living rooms and wallpaper (where the cheese would be) that give the art a sense of closeness, urgency, and invasion into private space.
A photograph titled Give me your Money bitch (My Life in Politics) by Tim Davis was also notable. In it, two people sit on a bare gray sidewalk. One is cropped at the shoulders; the other is hunched over in a way that shrouds the face but shows serious attention to the task at hand, painting a cardboard sign like that of a beggar. The sign is brightly colored with flowers and swirls, but the youthful innocence is betrayed by the sign’s message, “Give me your money bitch.”
Other artists in this show include Manuel Acevedo, Patty Chang, Carol Irving, Jackie Gendel, and Elizabeth Subrin. Starting with doubt and progressing to betrayal of innocence, the exhibit thoroughly interprets Lush Life‘s second chapter, which, by the way, is a great read.
Below is the schedule of upcoming Lush Life openings. The opening reception will be July 8.
Sue Scott Gallery, Chapter One: Whistle
June 17 – August 1
On Stellar Rays, Chapter Two: Liar
June 23 – August 1
Invisible-Exports, Chapter Three: First Bird (A Few Butterflies)
June 25 – August 6
Lehmann Maupin, Chapter Four: Let It Die
July 8 – August 13
Y Gallery, Chapter Five: Want Cards
July 8 – July 25
Collette Blanchard Gallery, Chapter Six: The Devil You Know
July 8 – August 13
Salon 94, Chapter Seven: Wolf Tickets
June 24 – July 30
Scaramouche, Chapter Eight: 17 Plus 25 Is 32
July 8 – August 7
Eleven Rivington, Chapter Nine: She’ll Be Apples
July 15 – August 13