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


BradyDale said...

The stuff at Wexler this time was really good but it was a madhouse in there on Friday. I mainly went to see Boruchow's new stuff, as I'd never actually seen his works in person before and that makes a huge difference, versus seeing them on-line where you can't really appreciate their delicacy.

Anonymous said...

You write very poorly

Annette Monnier said...

To anonymous:

Next time use your name (or are you afraid?), as anyone who knows me knows I make no secret of the fact that I can't in fact; write, spell, or use grammar. This is a BLOG. Chill out, you don't have to read it and I don't get paid for it (most of the time).

However I thank you for your frank comment and hope this proves to everyone that they can write what they feel.


kristen said...

I must be dumb, I was just thinking I like the way you write and then I got to the comments. I had a Kate Moss siting the other night and I felt like I had to pretend that I wasn't thrilled, like it was normal for me to be serving food to this iconic creature in our little city, because things like that, people like her, happen all the time here. The truth is I was stunned and I haven't made it to the show at the Wexler's yet, but I imagine it might have the same effect as Moss. I am thankful to Sienna for procuring all these works and putting on a great show. I look forward to making it down there.

Annette Monnier said...

Kate Moss?!

I think you're brilliant, but I do write conversationally.

Sienna said...

Hi Annette,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Wexler Gallery’s current exhibition "(In)Between: Contemporary Interpretations of Vanitas." I first read your review about a week ago and found it interesting, however, your repeated use of the word “fake” has directly or indirectly questioned the integrity of the gallery and the exhibition.

With a bit of research, one would find that the Wexler Gallery is an internationally recognized gallery that deals largely with the secondary art market. Lewis Wexler, the owner of the gallery, began his career in the arts as Assistant Vice President of 20th Century Decorative Arts at Christie's auction house in New York City. Following his work at Christie's, Lewis worked with world-renowned French Art Deco dealer Anthony Delorenzo at his Madison Avenue gallery.

Thus, we have the contacts and resources to acquire such prestigious works.

I respect your opinion and think it is great that you facilitate such an open forum to discuss art. I also appreciate how passionate you seem to be about critical theory and encouraging people to think more. However, I do think it’s necessary to clear the air a bit and address the negative insinuations that a reader may be left with after considering your blog.

If you are curious to know more about the show or would like additional information about the work, please feel free to contact me directly at the gallery. I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Sienna Freeman
Associate Director
Wexler Gallery
Curator of "(In)Between: Contemporary Interpretations of Vanitas" said...

Dear Sienna,

I hope no real harm was done, I stated several times in the text that my little rant had nothing to do with the work at your gallery. I understand however that people often take such things a little too seriously.

I want to reiterate that I never once believed anything at the Wexler to be a fake and still do not. Thank you for putting together such a wonderful exhibition!

-Annette Monnier