Studio Views Feature Image

Thesis Feature

Studio Views

21st century art schools are not known for groupthink, but even among its peers Hunter is an unusually individualistic program. It has no dominant tendencies, nor even any evident center of gravity. Students are encouraged to establish their own frameworks of reference, to develop their own unique vision and an equally unique skill set to support it.

I have therefore elected not to generalize about the current graduating class, instead offering short essays on each individual practice. Taken together, they may be taken as a census of where New York’s art is at the moment – or just as a random sample of highly talented people. In any case, it has been an honor to encounter these artists at this decisive moment in their careers, and to offer an immediate critical response to their work. I feel sure you’ll be hearing about them again.

—Glenn Adamson

Alison Kizu-Blair

“Sometimes you make me want to give up. Fuck shit up. Tell you what’s what. Hold a mirror up. Give into my anger, put myself in danger, become an angry teenager. But I’ll never give up, never give up, never give up!”

So says the Pour Girl, in a performance created by Alison Kizu-Blair. An alter ego for the artist, the character swings wildly across type: initially obedient and coquettish, then unhinged with anger. Handmade ceramic props are pressed into slapstick service, as she chaotically mixes drinks for an imagined male patron. Dressed à la geisha and wielding a twirling parasol, the Pour Girl is a pastiche of exotic sexist tropes. She stands in front of another image of Kizu-Blair in dolled-up drag, this one an explicit homage to Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, that supreme statement of female passive aggression. The performance is a dizzying spiral of smiling complicity and simmering ablaze with rage.

In her more recent work, Kizu-Blair has continued to explore this unstable cocktail of ethnicity, gender codes, and raw emotion. Ukiyo-e Japanese prints hover ghostly in the background – those lurid images of pornography, haunting spirits, and actors striking frantic poses. She has appropriated this material in part as a way to surface her own subject position, but also because these historic sources are a good way to think through a question: what does it mean to portray “real” feelings artificially?

Like many women these days (and men, for that matter), Kizu-Blair is furious at the retrenchment of reactionary worldviews at the highest levels of institutional power. Her working theory is that pantomime may be as valid a response as protest. She draws not only on the Japanese print tradition, but also the exquisite artifice of traditional theatre forms like Noh, with its masks and inexorable music and stage-shaking stamps; and the Italian street theatre, commedia dell’arte, a performed in bright costume in the piazza for anyone who happens by. Such forms, sans proscenium, burst the safe barrier between performer and audience. Kizu-Blair is in our space, and we are in hers. Her humor and rage are ours to share.

Kyle Utter

In his book Behavior: The Control of Perception (1973), the theoretical psychologist William T. Powers distinguished between three types of theorization: extrapolation, abstraction, and model-building. Extrapolation and abstraction are built on top of observations, creating overarching systems. Model-building, which he defined as “the interpretation of specific observations as consequences of hypothetical underlying causes,” goes the other direction. It seeks to describe the subsystems contained within the systems that are initially observed – a hidden structure.

Kyle Utter’s paintings are compounded of fleeting impressions, art historical references, and psychological narratives, in no particular order of priority. He starts from the principle that mere difference is enough to generate meaning, and goes from there: “I want to set up a cognitive loop that anyone can run around on.” Even the most powerful explanatory model might not totally explain these intriguing paintings. But Powers’ suggestion that we always can look for underlying connections seems like a good start. 

For much of his time at Hunter, Utter’s work has been frontal in orientation, an emblematic arrangement of signs. More recently, it has gotten a bit more theatrical, less fixed, and more oriented to figuration. This change was perhaps influenced by a recent trip to Europe, where he absorbed a huge range of material “frescoes in Pompeii, Giotto, Piero, Ghirlandio, Tiepolo, Metaphysical painting of the early 20th century, Stephan Melzl and Neo Rauch.” His sampling-sensibility remains intact, but there is now a greater sense of a space that we can inhabit, though perhaps only in the way that Samuel Beckett’s characters inhabit a stage. The atmosphere in the images is airless – in a good way, the way that Beckett’s prose is airless, perfumed only with wafts of existential doubt. Utter thinks of himself as a realist, but one who is searching for a way to paint “reality” (one of the few words that means nothing without scare quotes, as Vladimir Nabokov observed) as it is actually experienced: a state of persistent and pervasive confusion, punctuated by occasional flashes of insight.

Jason Rondinelli

“The gay saunas of New York somehow survived the AIDS crisis, but they couldn’t withstand the introduction of hookup apps.” I had a good laugh when Jason Rondinelli made that observation to me, though of course this is no laughing matter. The horror of the AIDS epidemic has receded now, thanks to Prep and antiretroviral therapy – at least, it has here in America. But it left a permanent shadow, not least on imaginings of gay sexuality. What had been associated with carefree (albeit illegal) hedonism became tinged with trauma, and the memory of the dead. 

Rondinelli’s work sensitively explores this palimpsest of pleasure and pain. He takes into his scope not just the memory of AIDS, but also deeper legacies - like the films and writings of Jean Genet, and even ancient Roman baths. Saunas are particularly resonant spaces for him. No longer used for sex and sociability, they are now finding new uses, or are simply unoccupied, and Rondinelli’s sculptures could be considered affective, abject monuments to this history. There are steam-wet cedar structures, partly sheathed in handmade tiles; drywall structures surreally lubricated with muscle relaxant. These works poignantly evoke scenarios that, to an earlier generation of gay men, would have seemed paradise in miniature. Today they live mainly in the collective memory.

In a particularly arresting move, Rondinelli evokes the trace of bodies through the introduction of heads of cabbage, which give off a palpable, humid smell as the sculptures age. This is an allusion to Genet’s visionary erotic text Funeral Rites: “My gaze was glued to the militiaman's fly… I loved him. I was going to marry him. It would perhaps be enough for me to be dressed in white, for the wedding, though with a decoration of large black crape cabbage rosettes at each joint, at the elbows, the knees, the fingers, the ankles, the neck, the waist, the throat, the prick, and the anus.” Few viewers, perhaps, would make the connection to this gorgeously explicit literary source. But Rondinelli is not providing footnotes. Rather, his work is a primal encounter with the thing that is most immediate, yet most elusive, in human life: desire.

Wai Ying Zhao

Before Wai Ying existed, she had an elder sister, who also didn’t exist. At least, she thinks she might have.

Wai’s parents had been living in mainland China, where the one-child policy was in force. Before her birth they moved to Hong Kong, where they would be free to have a second child, a daughter: her. But Wai is haunted by the idea that she might not have been the first girl conceived by her parents – that perhaps there was another, who was not given the chance to live. Whether this is true or not (she may never know), she perceives herself as “a survivor of an invisible holocaust.”

Animated by these thoughts of the unborn children of China, Wai has postulated what she calls the Big Sister Institute. She is now busying herself “producing the documents that prove its existence.” The name of this curiously conceptual organization has Orwellian overtones, as do the questionnaires that she distributes in its name (they are purportedly anonymized but, Wai says enigmatically, “Big Sister knows”). The Institute is currently undertaking an audit of students at Hunter, part of a broader investigation into the financial underpinnings of the art world. It operates on the working hypothesis that the whole social enterprise of contemporary art, which is nominally based on the principle of free expression, is actually anything but free, because it produces so much hardship.

Is this really any of Big Sister’s business? Wai isn’t saying. Her assumed position is that of an intermediary between herself and the Institute, as well as other artists – and indeed other artists’ institutes, which she hopes to host in various gallery-based configurations both in New York and back in her hometown of Shenzhen. She also conceives herself as a medium in the spiritual sense. (She has interviewed her two dogs, exploring the possibility that they may be reincarnated relations.) Maybe this all sounds like fantasy, or fiction. But in a strange way, Wai’s response to the experience of New York City’s art scene – its monetary structures, its presumptions, its forms and customs – is as real as it comes.

Michelle Hernandez Vega

Michelle Hernandez Vega has always been interested in remnants. Even as a child, she remembers sitting at a table in her seamstress grandmother’s house in Puerto Rico, sewing pockets of fabric so that she could put little found treasures inside. (A smartphone feels more or less the same to her today.) Vega’s current sculptural work is compounded of such memories and influences. Bright in palette – she says her color choices haven’t changed much since she was that kid – they also vibrate with possible significance, imparted by former intention.

Typically, to accompany her works, she writes texts in the form of poems or observational lists. Alongside a work that has the already-arresting title Schematic for Solar Powered Elsewhere, for instance, she staged what she called a ‘story time’ reading that shares the work’s disjunctive structure. This performance incorporated improvised dialogue as well as a set text, which begins:


Divining Redirects Here

She lived in a

This concrete poem, dropping its content in discrete, word-by-word units, typifies Vega’s strategy with language, which she describes as “engaging in a nonsensical often delusional search for meaning through a bicultural lens.”

Part of that bicultural background is Vega’s Catholic upbringing, and she has long been fascinated by another duality that arises within the faith: the distinction between coincidental happenstance and miraculous apparition. What if every “found object” were approached as if destined for her, and only for her, as if guided by a higher power? What kind of artistic vocabulary would do justice to that possibility of providence, as well as to the doubt that necessarily attends it? For an answer, just look at what she makes. “A lot of it,” she says, “is just trying to find something to believe in again.”

Corey Cedric Allen

You are in a closet, hiding. The slatted doors let in slices of light, and shudder with possibility of a forced entry. You are in danger. And it never ends.

That is the plot – if it can be called that – of a recent film by Corey Cedric Allen. It is made of footage ripped from John Carpenter’s 1978 film Halloween, which he has digitally scrubbed of its protagonists. Rather as in work of artist Paul Pfeiffer – whom Allen claims as an influence – the erasure leaves a palpable ghostly trace. The horror has not been canceled out so much as diluted, like dye in a bath. All that’s left is a low hum of threat.

The closet is no haphazard choice for Allen. He can still summon up the spooky feelings he had as a boy, when he imagined that something might crawl down into his bedroom from the attic. Almost needless to say, the motif is also keyed to queer aesthetics. His work has often circulated around the male body and its protective sheathing – tank tops, jock straps, football pads and jerseys – which he has transformed into an emotionally active surface through the application of beeswax, salt, Vaseline, and other materials. This treatment renders an athletic ideal into something softer, more pliant, perhaps more deeply sympathetic.

Initially, Allen’s appropriations of horror cinema may seem to derive from an entirely different part of his artistic imagination; yet as he points out, this genre often rotates around naïve stereotypes concerning carnal desire (“the person who isn’t sexual,” he observes, “tends to survive”). Horror films are also typically set in domestic environments, all the better to engender fear. The home, where we are meant to feel safest, becomes a place of dread. 

Allen understands this impetus toward rupture, and to some extent even mimics it in his work; understands, too, how mainstream domesticity can be its own kind of nightmare. He takes the side of “the queer kid sitting at the family table,” for whom the home may not be too comforting in the first place. That kid deserves an art made in his image. And this is it.

Patricia Ayres

Slovenly yet taut, plush yet geological, Patricia Ayres’ large-scale sculptures are towering bundles of contradiction. They are meant to be. Deriving, ultimately, from Ayres’ background in fashion – her knowledge of cut and stretch and fit – their materials are taken from that trade.  Inspect their lumpen surfaces and you’ll find them delicate, composed of antique undergarments, garter belts, and elasticated fabric sourced from the Garment District. Yet they are the opposite of decorous. If the sculptures conjure a mode of femininity, it is one bursting with disruptive energy (comparable, perhaps, to the avant garde couture of Rei Kawakubo). Monumental sculpture has long been a heroic genre, associated with male achievement. These works provide a much-needed riposte: they are gargantuan heroines, barely contained, very close to spilling their guts, or swallowing you whole, or just spreading out, to take up as much damn space as they please.

Alongside these powerfully volumetric works, Ayres has also created a series of more geometric character – stepped octagons, low to the ground. Their centers are occupied by small grates, which turn out to have been sourced from church confession booths (the cross-shaped perforations are a giveaway). Perhaps they are objects to whisper into, and confide in? Yet there is a certain formality to them that discourages such intimacy. They could even be science fiction props: their ziggurat-like profiles remind you of the way that images of the future often deploy the imagery of the deep past. One could imagine them as portals to another world, or landing pads for extradimensional beings. In fact, standing in Ayres’ studio, I had the whimsical thought that her other sculptures, the galumphing giants, might have used them to beam down to Earth. Also, that they might have been continually reconfiguring themselves when I wasn’t looking. This implication of perpetual metamorphosis, of open-ended form, suggests that for all the power of her work, Ayres is just getting started. “I did love fashion,” she says. “But I love this more.”

Amanda Brown

When you first see a painting by Amanda Brown, it knocks your eyes out. Put them back in, though, because it’s worth looking closely. Thanks to her masterfully subtle shading, the two-dimensional picture plane seems to fold and flex at her command, positive and negative space trading places like partners on a dancefloor. Often she modulates close tones into one another, or selectively wipes a surface to vary its reflectivity. Edges are graced by a thin halo of hue, making them vibrate.  

Though Brown’s paintings initially appear to be abstract, every one begins with an observation made in real space – en plein air au cité – so that (in her words) the viewer is “suspended in a space of actual looking.” They are based on urban views, angled way up so as to capture not just the vertiginous lines of the cityscape, but also its surprisingly varied optical experiences: the gradations of color and light that play across a glass façade; the etching of sky into a negative space with its own rigorous contours.  

This insistence on a real referent differentiates Brown’s work, if only just, from abstraction. (“I hope that moment of looking happens between the viewer and the painting,” she says, “and much less between me and the buildings I've looked at.”) The pictures may recall the tricksy effects of 1960s Op Art, or even the sublime pomp of Barnett Newman. Yet Brown’s emphasis is not on the pure, disembodied opticality that was once ascribed to painting; she is after more elusive quarry. She embraces the repertoire of the painter as described by the phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty: “Light, lighting, shadows, reflections, colors, all these objects of his quest are not altogether real objects; like ghosts, they have only visual existence. In fact they exist only at the threshold of profane vision.” It’s to that threshold that Brown has carefully edged – then taken a good look – then leapt right through.

Jessi Li

Jessi Li was raised Jewish, by her mother and stepfather. Her biological father was Chinese. When he died, a decade ago now, she resolved to reconnect with that heritage. She went on a pilgrimage to all sorts of funerary sites in China. As Li traveled, she found herself treated as a mysterious other. People would say to her, “your skin is like ours!” But also, “you’re big.” It was the flip side of the experience she’d had growing up, when it was her Chineseness, rather than her Westernness, that was anomalous.  

The facts of biography matter for any artist, but in Li’s case they are fundamental, for her iconography is generated out of this experience of place and displacement. To make sense of it, she has gravitated to the “carrier bag” theory of fiction outlined by Ursula K. Le Guin – the project of “trying to describe what is in fact going on, what people actually do and feel, how people relate to everything else in this vast sack, this belly of the universe, this womb of things to be and tomb of things that were, this unending story.”

And Li’s work does contain multitudes. Prior to attending Hunter, she had trained in ceramics and glass, and she retains an allegiance to the vessel form, because it implies the containment of whatever is needful. These days though, her work ranges far outside the expected vocabulary of craft genres. One of her sculptures features a store-bought toilet seat and lid, a nod to Duchamp of course, which is set atop a spindly plastered frame with ball-and-claw feet, a motif Li appropriated because of its Chinese origin (the original image was that of a dragon grasping a pearl). Hanging inside, more or less where a commode’s user would deposit their own intimate contents, is a solid casting of paraffin wax, preserving the contours of a plastic bag.

Like most people, Li carries a lot with her – memories, and voids where memories should have been. Also like most people, she keeps a great deal of that inside. But if her work is like a carrier bag, it’s left partly open, so you can take a peek in. She’s generous like that.

Amy Butowicz

This summer, Amy Butowicz took up a residency in upstate New York, at Salem Art Works. Her time there was devoted to a single felled tree. She harvested its branches, which were laced with disease, and incorporated them into sculpture. It was heavy work, formally powerful and deeply felt. 

But here’s the thing: until the residency, Butowicz had been making very different works, possessed of urban glamor. Made mostly of fabric, scrunched and twisted and painted with garish color, her sculptures were all dressed up with everywhere to go. She returned to her final semester at Hunter, then, with a particular objective in mind: to resolve the seeming contradictions between two bodies of work. She’d been an exuberant city mouse, then a sober country mouse. Now she needed to drag both those personas on to the floor, and get them dancing.

And dance they do. At this crucial moment, Butowicz hit on an unconventional sculptural material: rush, a twisted grass often used in upholstery. You’ve probably sat on it, but you’ll never have seen it like this: arranged in long, loping forms, like lounging bodies. To this primary element she has conjoined a diverse range of found objects, some of rustic character, some fit for a queen (a drag queen, that is). Swept up into the compositional vortex are bits of furniture, a door, seemingly the contents of a whole house in glorious disarray. The sculptures arrange themselves in extended phrases, as if trying to communicate in a language only objects understand. Maybe artists do too.

Standing vigil nearby, and completing the impression of domestic dishabille, is a three-panel screen, spray-painted in bruising palette of green, purple and bronze. At the bottom, a red velvet cushion peeks out: a little moment of indiscretion, a secret dying to be revealed.

Life is filled with conflict. At its best, art does not look away from that fact, nor try to resolve the mess of experience into a single unified whole. Butowicz’s rough and tumble creations have this wisdom within them: that contradiction is its own kind of truth.

Joseph Burwell

What would a handmade model of the internet look like? Perhaps something like the work of Joseph Burwell. He makes sculptural environments that fizz with information, connections which skitter this way and that: a cabinet of curiosities for our digitally saturated era. As on social media, phrases float in seemingly random juxtaposition, from the slightly unhinged (“naturally, it was licked by the usual tongues of fire”) to the flatly descriptive (“flies buzzing”) to the archly self-referential (“ignore previous sign”). There are actual rocks, alongside plasticine sculptures imitating rock, alongside etchings of rocks made using a laser cutter – a cascade from real to fake, from the most ancient of technologies to the newest. And free-floating motifs, like those that float up from the mysterious algorithms of a Google image search.

It all feels very clarifying. But of what? It’s hard to say.

This diorama of diversions is presented within a great box, constructed with professional exactness out of utilitarian chipboard and threaded rod. It makes a disarmingly neutral backdrop, clearing the way for the viewer to make associations at will. Like a Rorschach test, the situations Burwell creates prompt half-formed associations. You can almost feel your synapses firing. This is the real precision craftsmanship in the work – it sticks the landing on the sweet spot between the legible and the arbitrary. 

Though Burwell is plenty cerebral – after all, he is making a three-dimensional manifestation of network theory – most of his decisions are made intuitively. “I feel anxious when I am working, jumping around a lot making these parts, while still making it feel unpredictable,” he says. “But there is also a pleasure in designing and executing.” Perhaps it’s actually this emotional timbre that makes his work read so true as a response to internet culture. It’s easy to let the digital stream wash over you; easy to get addicted; easy too, to drown in it. What takes imagination is to do what Burwell has done: lay down a few stepping stones, slippery though they may be, across the current.

Christopher Roberson

Walk up to Christopher Roberson’s wall-hung works, and inspect them closely. What you’ll see is a matte surface, ribbed, mysteriously impregnated with various hues. They seem to be, as he puts it, “ambient filters, which have absorbed the color from the room.” They are something like paintings… but not quite.

Then, though you’re not really supposed to do this in art galleries, reach out and touch them. You’ll get a mild shock of recognition, hard to place. The material is cool, but pliant, almost fleshlike. Then you’ll recognize it: this is some kind of weird rubber, somehow transmogrified into a wholly unfamiliar guise. 

As it turns out, Roberson’s material of choice is platinum-cure silicone. He casts it in handmade molds, which are themselves lined with chalky pigments. These leach into the silicone as it sets, becoming an inextricable part of its thickness. Though they do look at first like paintings, technically they are more akin to monoprints. For that matter, they are also sculpture – because he has mounted them on painted metal frames, making them project outward into the room. (Crane your neck to look from behind, and you’ll see they present an entirely different aspect.) What they really are, however, is sui generis. All good artists are innovative, but few can claim to have invented a new medium. 

When Roberson discovered this process – initially as an offshoot of his experiments with silicon as a mold-making material – he swiftly realized that it could lead in many directions. His solutions, including the wall-based works, have tended to exploit the subtlety of the material. Each of them is a collection of nuances. But he is well aware that silicone has associations far outside the realm of art. For some, it may suggest a smartphone case; for others, breast implants. Roberson welcomes those other associations with our artificial material culture, and indeed, they give his works a vivid contemporaneity. At the same time, they acknowledge an art historical lineage. These works may be unfamiliar; but they are suffused with the oldest of pleasures, that of raw aesthetic discovery.

Jordan Artim

Jordan Artim’s newest painting is called The Watering Hole. It depicts naked men lounging in some sort of lagoon. Some regard their own reflections, like the mythic Narcissus. Some gaze into the middle distance, perhaps at other men unseen. And one guy looks right at us: we’ve just been cruised.

Artim’s work is a beguiling overlay of two worlds, which (now that he’s shown how it can be done) seem like they were predestined to be mated. One is the contemporary gay scene, with its complex interplay of sex and sociability, scopophilia and sophistication. The other is historic baroque painting, which Artim channels not only technically – louche scenes in loose brushwork – but also iconographically. He has revived the 17th-century habit of putting things in paintings that actually mean something, and then infused the symbols with a subtle head-spin of added implication.

Take, for example, a seemingly innocent picture with the sensational title Bruised Fruit (Still Life of an After Thot). “Thot” – since you’ve asked – is slang for a promiscuous gay man on the make. What does that have to do with the painting? Well, read the code, if you can: the peach and banana are commonly used emoticons for butt and cock. But, because these references have been sucked into Artim’s historicist gravity well, they have an overlay of traditional vanitas. The fleshy fruit buzzes with flies and deliquesces into rot. All good things must come to an end.

Artim is staging a clever collision of conventions, here. He’s also recasting contemporary queer figuration (a genre that runs the gamut from blue chip galleries to calendrical kitsch). His paintings are explicit about gay desire, while being sweetly domestic in tone – “easy to swallow,” as he wryly puts it.

The most impressive thing about his burgeoning oeuvre, though, is its psychological complexity. Even when his characters embrace, they glance away, distracted by their surroundings – a tiled sky like a screensaver, a putti strangling a swan (an emblem of monogamy). The paintings have great tenderness in them, but also a frankness about the operations of desire, and the way emotion can get trampled in the hunt. You may or may not know the world he’s painted first-hand; but either way, your heart goes out to it.

Lili Jamail

It was Henri Cartier-Bresson who described the quarry of photography as “the decisive moment.” For him, the power of the medium was its fullness, the way it could capture human life in a single image.

Lili Jamail does pretty much the opposite of that. What interests her is what the French call the hors-texte, that which is elsewhere, before or after. The subjects of her luminous portraits always look into the middle distance, unless their eyes are shut (just closed? about to open?). Her still life compositions are often filled with provisional traces: a sketch is held to the wall with blue tape; light streams, Vermeer-like, through a window. You can almost feel it about to dim as a cloud passes by.

When words crop up in Jamail’s pictures in ways that seem explanatory, the rest of the picture invariably calls that clarity into doubt. At the top of one photo is bold, hand-scripted lettering: HISTÓRIA. History, or a story. What’s underneath, though? A comic strip, surely an inadequate medium for clarifying whatever events are depicted. There’s just as much truth in the thin white spaces between frame as the cartoons themselves.

Doubles recur in Jamail’s pictures; as she points out, photography is always already a doubling, an attempt at mimesis that’s bound to fall short: “this medium is as close to reality as you can get, but there is always so much missing.” This philosophical interest in plays of presence and absence, has led Jamail to make an extraordinarily wide range of images. Some of them feel universal. One could imagine discovering them in an old photo album at home. Others are remarkable, not only for the scale and perfection of their printing, but the assertive formal intelligence of their compositions. The disparity of tone is amplified by her approach to installation; some pictures are hung on an eye-line, rendering them discrete, while others are arranged so as to create uncertain lines of connections from one to the next.

It is impressive how Jamail has defined an intellectual territory without slipping into the constraints of a signature style. Every great artist needs a great subject; hers seems to be the indecisive moment.

Nathan Sinai Rayman

“I just took a SawzAll to this. Which has been really great.”

Nathan Sinai Rayman is talking with me in the project room at Hunter, just two weeks away from the opening of his MFA show. It’s Thursday morning, and he’s wearing a necktie. He is the last of the students I’m to meet as visiting critic here at the college. 

Prior to its encounter with an industrial-grade demolition saw, the structure was a white cube. It has now been (as Rayman puts it) “Chamberlained.” He’s referring to John Chamberlain, the automotive expressionist. The formerly neutral structure has been made expressionist, torn through and apart. Contained in its chaotic volume are letters – an E, a Y, a G, a couple of L’s among them. Taken together they spell LARGELY, REGALLY, ALLERGY… and also GALLERY.

This literally deconstructivist anti-monument is one of a trio of spaces that Rayman will be including in his thesis exhibition. Some time ago, when living in Brooklyn with little time on his hands, and less resource, he had set up what he describes as “likely the tiniest, most inconsequential gallery in New York City.” (When he told me this, I said, “what about the Wrong Gallery, the space that Maurizio Cattelan set up in Chelsea? That was just a doorway.” Rayman replied, “ah – but that was consequential.”)

Now he is relaunching the franchise as GALLERYGALLERYGALLERY. (“Really, not a special word. So I’m gonna say it three times.”) In addition to the signage, there will be another set of constituent letters serving as receptacles for flowers, hummus, or chips and dip. The Brooklyn artist Christopher K. Ho will be exhibiting sculptures. Taken together, the presentation is intended to conjure a deadpan self-sufficiency, in the face of art-making and real estate’s problematic juncture.

Now he is relaunching the franchise as GALLERYGALLERYGALLERY. (“Really, not a special word. So I’m gonna say it three times.”) In addition to the signage, there will be another set of constituent letters serving as receptacles for flowers, hummus, or chips and dip. The Brooklyn artist Christopher K. Ho will be exhibiting sculptures in the second space, with a further show in the third. Taken together, the presentation is intended to conjure a deadpan self-sufficiency, in the face of art-making and real estate’s problematic juncture.