Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff, Notes on American Performance, 2012
Installation view at T293, Naples
Courtesy of the artists, T293
Photography by Maurizio Esposito

“Notes on American Performance” by Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff at T293, Naples

April 27 2012
1:02 PM

The bar, as a motif, suggests both industrial progress and the institution of debauchery—that is, resource and its Bacchic inversion. For Max Pitegoff and Calla Henkel, “raising the bar” meant opening Times (with Lindsay Lawson) in Berlin’s Neuköln district, a bar that’s part working business, part running art gag, somewhat like Gordon Matta-Clark’s restaurant Food in 70’s SoHo. At their solo show at T293 Naples, Henkel and Pitegoff’s bar-themed paraphernalia, such as faux plastic cocktails and unfinished tile booths, were scattered about the gallery, recalling both candy-colored artistry and faulty economics. Texts about performances, Berlin, the debt crisis, and a recent e-flux journal were UV-printed on aluminum, like hardened memoirs of a night on the town or like crystallized press releases from gallery tours of yore. During the show’s opening, the hanging of framed photographs was billed as a “performance.” It was a tongue-in-cheek gesture toward art’s divisions of labor and, somehow, a flirt with the celeb politics of the Eurozone (“lower on the Right”). The photographs being hung showed the artists lounging in luxury hotels in Athens, using Facetime in Egyptian cotton towels while the country below rioted. The pieces all amount to an attitude that is both pristine and inflammatory, like a Canal Street knockoff handbag or a bikini bottom floating silently past you on the surface of a pool. Moscow mule, anyone? (Pablo Larios)