Sunday, May 4, 2008
Damien Hirst at Wexler Gallery
(In) Between: Contemporary Interpretations of Vanitas
Wexler Gallery, May 2nd-June28th
While I don't think it's necessary to travel to The Met to see a Damien Hirst shark suspended in resin, I find it reasonable to travel the couple of blocks to 2nd street to see some some DH sculptures and a print. Damien Hirst is where he isn't supposed to be and his artwork being down the street in a little gallery I would usually never go to has all the glitter of spotting an Olsen Twin with Chloe Sevigny at Johnny and Brendas.
While I would never think to question it in New York, in Philly I doubt the authenticity of Damien Hirst skulls in my neighborhood. I do not mean that I believe the sculptures and print at Wexler Gallery to be fakes, I simply mean to point back to my prior metaphor; If you see Chloe Sevigny or an Olsen Twin at J&Bs you do a couple of double-takes and ask yourself “Is that really who I think it is?”. At the Met the Damien Hirst is expected, just another piece of art in a priceless collection of masterpieces, at the oscars Chloe Sevigny is just another starlet, but in Philadelphia at a little bar/gallery both are a spectacle.
And not to take off on an unrelated tangent about fakes, but it is much easier to get away with that sort of thing in Philly. . .
There is the fact that while there are hundreds of watch-dogs (read; bloggers, critics and fans) for any kind of scam an artist or gallery might pull in New York, in Philadelphia I might be the only one. While everyone seems to be in on a New York joke--Triple Candie was recently able to show fake art from a fake artist (The "Lester Hayes”, Holland Cotter writes about in this article on the show is completely fictitious.) people know the Sturtevant's in the Whitney Biennial 2006 weren't really Duchamps, the Miles Davis' in the same show was really a David Hammons', and all that Reena Spauling's stuff was what it is,-- I know for a fact there have been certain “scams” in Philadelphia that have never been outted as fakes (*cough, The Golden Brick, cough*).
I'd like to reiterate that that has nothing to do with (In)Between at the Wexler, an exhibition you should be drawn to for the glitter of Damien Hirst and stay at because they have three excellent Randall Sellers paintings, and some beautiful paper cut-outs by Joe Boruchow. I'm just saying you have to watch your back when you're reviewing art these days.
Randall Sellers, "Arrivals and Departures", 2008
Randall Sellers, "Escape From Ghost City", 2008
Joe Boruchow, "Morning Before Deluge (Part 1 of Vanitas: The Deluge)", 2008