Essex Olivares, Office Riddim (detail), 2013
Courtesy of the artists and Lisa Cooley, New York; photo by Cary Whittier

“The String and the Mirror”
at Lisa Cooley, New York

August 21 2013
6:52 PM

Ranging from pioneering, semi-shamanic figures (Akio Suzuki, who uses found objects and improbable instruments) to young experimental ensemble performers (Essex Olivares) to studious investigators of sound’s political import (Lawrence Abu Hamdan), the sixteen artists included in “The String and the Mirror” at Lisa Cooley offer oblique reminders of how sound manifests in our imaginations, in our memories, and in our daily lives. The press release dubs this “sound as an expanded practice,” though all of its claims—as one of the works by Basque troublemaker Mattin—are inverted to be negative. (“It will be fairly straightforward,” he glibly declares in its penultimate line.) Curators Justin Luke of Audio Visual Arts and Lawrence Kumpf of ISSUE Project Room also reveal a number of well-known artists’ lesser-known works, such as Marina Rosenfeld’s lenticular photographs and Alan Licht’s decibel meter. An understated centerpiece, Stefan Tcherepnin’s Concrete Mandalas (2013) offers a quiet tribute to the gallery’s location, the site of the legendary experimental music club Tonic (razed in 2007 in light of rising rents and condominiums—one of which now houses the ground-floor gallery). Tcherepnin’s installation presents a hanging cloth backdrop and three staggered kidney-shaped platforms—suggesting stages and musical notes on a scale—each surface sealed with sodium silicate in which a swirled puddle of beer appears symbolically frozen in time, the bar floors liquids of a heady past forced, literally, into a glassy finish. (Natalie Bell)

“The String and the Mirror” at Lisa Cooley, New York, will run through August 28.