exhibitions artists about contact


Naives, Seers, Lone Wolves and World Savers XVII

Casting Bread: Wafaa Bilal

Teacher of Us All: Laurence Rathsack and a Few of His Students

Discardedly Yours: Art Made from New York City Junk

Likely Stories

Bruce Nauman on Paper

The 2006 Outsider Art Fair in Soho

Big Bangs/Small Bucks III

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exhibition information

Exhibition Dates: December 10, 2010 - January 30, 2011
Opening Reception: Friday, December 10, 6-9 p.m.

about the show

It‘s almost here again, the gallery‘s now-annual Big Bangs/Small Bangs exhibition, a show crafted less for the adventurous of the checkbook than for the adventurous of the eye.

There are no works in this production with price tags in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars like those that abounded in the just-concluded Art Basel Miami Beach art fair. Not even close. The biggest number on any of the tags in BB/SB III is $1000, and the great majority of the show‘s pieces are priced even lower, some for as little as a couple or few hundred dollars.

By and large, the names of the artists in this show don‘t yet resound far and wide in the broader art world, although those of at least some of the exhibitors are becoming increasingly reverberant, among them the photographers Gary Stochl and Wendel A. White, the painters Santiago Cucullu, Harri Monni and Claire Stigliani, and Gerard Sendrey, the production‘s single “outsider” artist, who, at eighty-two, is regarded as something close to a national treasure in France.

Almost daily, we read of individual works by such marquee artists as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst selling in the many millions of dollars in Christie‘s auction room or one of the (at last count) dozen galleries that Larry Gagosian operates in the US and Europe. Newer, younger collectors might try to keep one thing in mind in all this: The earliest patrons of Warhol, et al., lassoed in their works for the most modest of sums, probably amounts no more in today‘s dollars than the prices on the works in Big Bangs/Small Bucks III.

From the year it was trotted out for the first time in 2008, Big Bangs/Small Bucks was intended as evidence that it is possible to obtain smart, searching and eye- and brain-engaging artworks for amounts that could be lower than a single monthly installments on a stripped-down, Hyundai. Virtually all the artists in the show are still twenty-somethings. Could there be one or more in the mix who could be regarded as blue chippers in not many years? Possibly, maybe even probably, but, of course, no such guarantees are represented here.

BB/SB is an invitational show. Each of the exhibited pieces was chosen because of what the enterprise‘s organizers considered its merit. Thus, it would be unseemly here to try to establish some kind of hierarchy ranking the works according to our own preferences. It might be useful, though, to provide brief descriptions of just a few works to give the reader a sense of discoveries that are to be found in the show. Here, chosen almost at random, are just four:

1) Kitty Huffman‘s “Self-Portrait,” a performance work recorded on video in which the artist surrenders herself in a mesmerizing, unscripted drama that unfolds in an Edensque part of Wisconsin with a herd of deer in the dead of winter. On some level, Huffman‘s work puts one in mind of Joseph Beuy‘s famous “I Like America and America Likes Me” of 1974 in which he lived for a week with a live coyote in a small room at the Renee Block Gallery in New York.

2) The paintings of Richard Galling and paintings/sculptures of Susan Scott that, in different ways, challenge the viewer to reconsider the formal qualities that are necessary for an object to take its place in the world as art.

3) The small, playing-card-sized watercolors of the ever-protean, ever-absorbing Santiago Cucullu who started turning out the pieces during a recent teaching stint in Tokyo where he became familiar with the belief of the Shinto faithful that spirits, or kami, dwell everywhere in the natural world.

4) "Mechanisms," an audio work of computer-generated voices, produced by Danielle Rosen, still a student at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

Big Bangs/Small Bucks III will open at the gallery at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10. The show will continue through Jan. 30. That means about a month and a half of Black Fridays for art collectors. Hope to see you here.

--Dean Jensen