NYC Summer Gallery Exhibitions
If you couldn’t make it to New York City this summer here we offer a glimpse into 2 noteworthy exhibits from many. The first, a comical and calming series of cut outs by emerging artist, Anthony Iacono. The second, the documentation of remnants of a daily commute by Yuji Agematsu, an artist well into his 25th year documenting the minutiae of refuse.
Crudites at Sunset, Anthony Iacono at P.P.O.W.
July 9th to August 7, 2015, 5535 West 22nd Street, 3rd Floor, NYC, NY 10011
Anthony Iacono’s first major show at P.P.O.W. is a small feature, all works on paper hanging in a single room that could be completely absorbed by its white cube atmosphere were it not for the contents and colours selected. Iacono’s work presents itself as a contemporary take on Pop Art, yet the works do not feel exhausted by the well-versed implications of the genre, they are reborn. Imagine Warhol’s perfectly imprecise silk-screening technique replaced with vibrant, highly pigmented cut-outs. These painted collages do not depict branded consumerism, socialites or celebrities but the human body and inanimate objects. A simple concept, to be sure, emulated for hundreds of years in still lives and portraiture, yet it is the wit irony of placement of these objects in relation to the human body that provide a fresh and vibrant take.
Iacono’s choice of medium, the cut-out, creates a momentary stillness, giving insight into a light-hearted playful, world of his own devising. Shrimp, fruit and vegetables are no longer sources of nutrition, but have been re-purposed by the artist. They are rendered anthropomorphic into aesthetic tools of leisure. By mirroring the physical similarities between the body and the object, he raises them onto an equal level.
In addition to the cut-outs, Iacono included a short film, called Still from Curtain (2015, digital video, 10 minutes) featured two side-by-side projections of the cut-outs coming to life. A man clad only in his underwear uses all his strength to squish a grapefruit against a vintage-pink shower wall — sounds and all. Iacono changes his artist mandate, from the still, carefully assembled and coloured cut-outs to this loosely choreographed act. The inclusion of the squishing sounds revertebrates the fun, humouristic view that is encouraged by Iacono’s cut-outs.
Real Fine Arts, May 17th to July 26th, 2015, 673 Meeker Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Yuji Agematsu’s second solo project with Real Fine Arts, based in Brooklyn, has yielded a singular piece, which took the entirety of a year to build. Why?Because Agematsu’s work deals with documentation, the piece 01–01–2014 ~ 12–312–2014 obviously reflecting the date of beginning and end of a task. Agematsu began and finished one of the 365 components every single day for the whole year. Each piece begins on the same premise through location and materials — a cellophane wrapper from a packet of cigarettes and occasionally, the cardboard box itself. The variance between each piece is the contents within each wrapper — the refuse and plant debris collected on a walk on the particular date. The twelve months of the year are divided into individual sets of shelving with all of days displayed as such. Agematsu has been employing this process for over 25 years now.
This level of documentation methodology recalls the recent exhibition on On Kawara at the Guggenheim, who was famous for his date paintings. Kawara would begin and finish a minimalist painting on canvas of a black background with the date of the day in a white font. If the work was incomplete by the end of the day, it would be thrown away, if finished, then a copy of a newspaper from the same day would be inserted in the back. Similar series were completed with postcards which let the reader know the time the artist woke up at. There is a stark similarity between two artists and the desire to repurpose their surroundings, whether it is postcards or trash. Yet, Agematsu consciously does not have a personal element into his work, the refuse selected is circumstantial.
The contents of the individual cellophane wrappers are practically indistinguishable from their former lives. Each small component of the sculpture are creatively arranged and encourage the viewer to move up and close to individual pieces. Close examination of each piece, and the subsequent previous familiarization of the refuse used, encourages the viewer to more closely examine their own surroundings outside the gallery walls.