1. Gelitin at Greene Naftali Gallery
Members of this collective were blindfolded and cross-dressed while they made art. Their friends, who include art stars like Cecily Brown, Amy Sillman and Tony Conrad, led them around dutifully. As you can imagine, the result was a wonderful mess.
2. Material Issue and Other Matters at Canada
If there's an old standby in Manhattan for "gritty" art, Canada's it. Material Issue included artists Jess Fuller, Robert Janitz, Suzanne Goldenberg, Lauren Luloff, Leif Ritchey and Josh Blackwell and featured old shopping bags, torn and painted cloth, wobbly canvas structures and what appeared to be paper caked onto the surface of a stretcher. Definitely gritty.
3. Amy Sillman at Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
Just kidding. This was a clean painting show at a blue-chip gallery. But the accompanying $1 DIY zine prompted much conversation, and could certainly be called "gritty."
4. The Independent Fair
For all the top-tax bracket galleries in this Chelsea art fair, there was also a lot of clothing and album art for sale. Brooklyn-y!
5. BYOB at Spencer Brownstone
A whole lot of projectors in a ragtag arrangement for one night only. Each projected the work of a web artist. If gritty means little to no chance of making money, this is it.
6. Mine at Invisible-Exports
I don't know if it's fair to call a show with shots of Hanne Wilke as she's dying of cancer gritty, but it's certainly tough work. A group show of art produced while under duress, also featuring Bob Flanagan & Sheree Rose and Jana Leo.
7. Shephard Fairey at Deitch Projects
Admittedly, this show wasn't very gritty: it was a celebrity portrait show hung salon-style and accompanied by a giant mural at Houston and Bowery. But who cares? We all know graffiti art is supposed to be gritty, and I believe there were drips in these paintings, which are also gritty.
8. Employee of the Month at Marianne Boesky Gallery
This satirical rehab program not only employed those deemed too "unstable" for the workplace, but gave them a gallery show. The result: art handlers created a black pool full of water, a pyramid of flattened beer cans, and a woman playing drums with roses. Even the drumming piece suggested unhealthy living.
10. Multiple Pleasures at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
Welcome to the most expensive yard sale ever: functional objects doubling as artist editions. That meant shoes, skateboards, a Rob Pruitt tire water fountain. Also, a triptych of mini chandeliers hanging from a tampon.