Thursday, July 30, 2009

July 2000: Ellis G. and friends

Since my time here is limited, I packed my Wednesday full of art. SoHo houses some of my favorite galleries, so I braved the rain to explore.

First stop: Collective Hardware for Ellis G.’s show, Ocular Echoism. Sadly, I missed the opening last week and I have to peace out for the follow-up party tonight. However, you should definitely stop by.
Ellis brings the street indoors with a deftly arranged collection of trash, leaves, and newspaper boxes. Photos of his street pieces adorned the walls and I loved recognizing each piece out of context. While I still think his street stuff is my favorite, I appreciate the new take on his classic style.
As I read up for this post, I stumbled upon a great interview at Arrested Motion. Apparently, Ellis started chalk tagging after he was robbed outside of his house. Seeing his attacker’s shadow left him hypersensitive. To face his fear, he hit the streets at night and started tracing other familiar shadows.
After Collective Hardware, I passed by both Deitch Galleries. On Wooster Street, I was completely grossed out by Black Acid Co-Op, the latest collaboration between Jonah Freedman and Justin Lowe. The whole project explores how subcultures intersect with the mainstream. As you enter the site, you are swallowed whole. Passing from Chinese grocery to university library to meth lab, the exhibit might be more aptly titled Black Acid Trip. The kitchen tables filled with Sudafed, empty 40s, and spider-webbing tubes contrasted the emptiness of the rooms. At one point, another viewer peered through the doorway and I screamed. The oppressive environment put me on edge and left me feeling like a dirty intruder.
Then I followed up the Wooster Street Gallery with the Dash Snow memorial on Grand St. Ellis used to tag with Irak heavy, so Dash’s memorial tied my whole trip together. After the meth lab excursion, I felt a bit sick watching footage of Snow’s “hamster den.” Fans and friends alive covered the gallery with Polaroids and personal messages for Snow. The experience got me thinking: Was Dash exploited by the art world or did he calculate his every move? Ten years from now, will we view him as a genius or a flash in the pan? How much talent DOES it take to come on the New York Post? With all the media coverage, I feel like Dash’s live was one big out of body experience that I’m still trying to suss out. Thoughts?

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