Venus Over Manhattan, New York
September 23 2013
Who would’ve thought that one of the most uncompromising art spaces in the city would be located in the upper east side, and funded almost exclusively by a a 51-year old billionaire art collector and serious art journalist for The New York Observer? Nonetheless, Adam Lindemann’s pet project Venus over Manhattan, located in a tony Madison Avenue address across from the Carlyle Hotel, is eliciting much more buzz, and potential scandal, than more established neighbors, which include Gagosian Gallery’s uptown post. Andra Ursuta’s recent exhibition “Solitary Fitness” took stoning and capital punishment as its prickly subject matter; sequestered by chain link fencing, a baseball-pitching machine hurled stones at two tiled walls forty-feet away, which were inlaid with unkempt chunks of human hair. This was followed by a racially problematic exhibition of William Copley’s work by provocateur and chief-scandalist Bjarne Melgaard, whose Big Fat Black Cock Inc. interspersed Copley’s naïve-style paintings of everyday objects and explicit sex scenes with repainted versions, which cast Copley’s all-white subjects as exclusively African American. This switch made Copley’s racial biases very legible while also foregrounding Melgaard’s, who relegates certain races to the status of fetishized sex object. Problematic? Yes. Easy viewing? No. But who said easy was interesting? Lindemann’s uptown aspirations indicate he has no appetite for that. (David Everitt Howe)
Venus Over Manhattan currently hosts “Walter Dahn | 4th Time Around / (My Back Pages),” a survey of works by Walter Dahn, curated by Richard Prince. Through October 26.