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L.E.S. Weekend Gallery Picks

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We asked Jonathan Durham, an artist and the Director of Visual Arts at Abrons Art Center, to pick some current shows on the Lower East Side that he thinks are worth seeing.  Here is what he had to say:

I have four words in advance of the July 8th concurrent openings of 9 participating galleries on the LES: “Go Experience LUSH LIFE.”

Take your friends, visit all nine galleries, read Richard Price’s book, be haunted.

The exhibition schedule varies slightly at each gallery with the earliest installation being June 17 and the latest closing being August 13. There will be a collective opening of all participating galleries on Thursday, July 8th from 6 – 9 pm.

Gilad Ratman (Boggy Man)

There are a great many more shows worth seeing in the neighborhood, and because of this writer’s day job, only a few were possible to visit, but I had a lot of fun in the basement of Ramiken Crucible wading through the gooey relic filled mire of the exhibition Green Honey.  Curated by Andrea Cashman and Borden Capalino this exhibition offers up some sculptures, photography and video that land with a muffled thud somewhere in the mind space reserved for shit that you don’t want to throw away and are willing to pay the cerebral storage fees for…for years.

I especially like Gilad Ratman’s video The Boggy Man 2008, which allows the viewer to sink in into weird claustrophically edited footage of the Boggy Man – filming himself, sinking himself into a thick, beautiful mud pit.  As the Boggy Man grunts, pants, struggles and feigns pleas to the camera like  “Help me, I can’t get out!” you realize that your own perverse gaze is the helping hand that saves this guy every time.

borden capalino

I also cracked up at the generically menacing jpegs of snakes transferred onto raw canvas in Borden Capalino’s Love Thing, 2009.  Held to the wall with grommets this piece is hilarious. If you could somehow combine NASCAR with Burmese snake charming, this would be your banner of choice on race day.

Ramiken Crucible is located on Clinton (at East Broadway), in the black box down the stairs on the southeast corner.

Carlos Bevilacqua, Dois, installation view

If you are out this weekend don’t miss Carlos Bevilacqua’s beautiful show Dois at Simon Preston Gallery (301 Broome Street). These precisely balanced and perfectly tensioned sculptures (impressively constructed with no welding or adhesives) give physical coordinates to abstract notions of self-awareness and growth.

Andy Coolquitt - we care about you

Another hit that is closing this weekend is Andy Coolquitt’s exhibition We Care About You at Lisa Cooley (34 Orchard Street).  These abstract, mostly linear sculptures are made of joined pipes, broom handles, discarded lighters, beer bottles, straws, crayons, light bulbs, tape and other plastic multi-colored fragments culled from our man-made sea of not-so-luxurious goods.  Coolquitts second show at this gallery is noticeably more humorous, playful, and exuberant, with an elegant mix of discrete fabricated constructions and non-art objects.

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