Gallery Gal

Every once in a while I get into an “I Don’t Take Advantage Of This City Enough” mood and tell myself that although Happy Herbert’s pretzels, iced coffee, and the internet certainly add up to a rollickin’ good time, nothing can beat a romp around the city doing something that you just can’t do anywhere else. I mean, what’s the point of living in one of the most amazing cities in the world if you’re not going to take part in any of the stuff it has to offer? “You may as well move to the fucking suburbs,” I berate myself. “And we all know how much strip malls and mowing the lawn excite you.”
So, what’s a girl to do? Well, she knows better than to attempt to go back to a museum so soon after her last excursion. So she turns the pages of New York magazine for inspiration, and reads about the galleries. Decides that she’s a gallery gal. Too hip for museums. Too cutting edge. Museums, she decides, are for the hoi-polloi. Tourists. Kids. And she wants none of that.
(And here she decides to stop referring to herself in the third person, even though she’s having a great time dipping into schizophrenia. Come on in … the water’s fine!)
My first stop was the Julie Saul gallery, 535 West 22nd Street, for the Orit Raff exhibit. It was given a red star (indicating its worthiness) by New York, and this blurb: “Close-up photographs of scorched pots, soap bars, and gloves that explore notions of cleanliness; through 6/22”. I figured I’d better check it out before the end of its run. I also figured that any exhibit featuring scorched pots would at least contain an element of kitsch. Or, at the very least, I figured I’d find something funny about it.
But it just … sucked. The white walls were lined with maybe 20 photographs. On one wall, a large “piece” featuring about a dozen pairs of used rubber kitchen gloves. No scorched pots; just a collection of suspect brownish anonymous smudges of crust. And further down the line, several photographs of bars of soap in extreme close-up. Soap, unused, fresh out of the package. I dunno, call me crazy, but I think my version is a lot more compelling. Notice, if you will (and you’d better), how my art makes a statement on how even the most pristine icons of modern society are subject to tarnishment. Maybe everything isn’t as we think it is. Or what we are told to believe it is. Maybe what we consider the essence of purity is, in reality, impure? Hmmm.
My next stop was two blocks down, precisely, at 535 West 20th Street, where Feigen Contemporary is host to an exhibit of Russ Meyer’s photographs. Russ Meyer, as I hope you know, is responsible for “Mondo Topless”, one of the most hilarious movies I’ve ever seen. (I was tempted to say “titillating”, but that was just too obvious.) The Meyer selection was too tame for my taste. I mean, if you’re going to show photographs of buxom women, show me stuff that’ll make my eyes pop out. As it was, the selections were “nice” to look at. But if I wanted “nice”, I could’ve … stayed home all afternoon — and looked in the mirror! (And no, you will not find any pop-up images of my “version.” Nice try, but no deal.)
But all was not for naught. As an extra-crispy bonus, there was a small exhibit of stuff by the outrageously salacious Robert Crumb and the inimitable Annie Sprinkles, who had 192 slides on display atop a lightbox, complete with two magnifying glasses through which to view shots of her body in action, in all sorts of deliciously disgusting configurations. Of course, I could have duplicated this selection at home as well, but thankfully Annie managed to cover the gamut from T to A and back again.
And then, just as I was about to leave, I noticed that there was a lower level to the gallery. Check out The Gallery to see what I saw. Or what saw me.