Summer group shows tend to feel more casual. Thus the polished focus of a solo show, for instance, or the conceptual rigor of tightly themed group exhibitions might be softened or loosened to variable extents such that end results are just a bit, let’s say, more fun. The new show "of shows" at Interstate Projects confirms and upends these claims all at once.
6<<<>>>6 is a group exhibition (through July 21) of three—for now, though ultimately six—grouped exhibitions distributed, as it were, throughout the gallery’s three galleries. What’s more, the exhibition’s group-thought aspects extend to the curation as well. The first space visitors encounter—the outdoor courtyard, curated by an entity called Cleopatra’s—is a site-specific, whimsy-suggestive, universal-harmony-intoning and consistently performative installation by Kevin Beasley: a 30-seat orchestra of wind chimes. It is invariably charming, maybe even mesmerizing upon first glance and first listen, perhaps even more so if you happen to stroll by on a stormy night (disclaimer: you won’t really be able to see it). The next part of the exhibition, “Skim Milk,” brought to Interstate by Oliver Francis Gallery, appears to be another solo effort in its spare layout, limited chromatics and intra-communicative objects. Instead, it features work by five artists, from rather sizable, canvas-bound question marks—quickly inveigling non-objective works crafted, somehow, from “celluloid and optical sound”—to a brilliantly humorous basketball rim mounted up at around 13 feet (i.e. the combined height of Dennis Rodman and his "great friend" Kim Jong-un). The third facet of 6<<<>>>6, then—"Free Fall," curated by Rachel Steinberg—is an assembly of works by six artists whose readily differentiable aesthetics and materials come across as a fitting conflation of the courtyard’s charming euphony and the first floor’s witty simplicity. There is an air of delight in the spread of generally small works across the basement’s cement walls and floors; there’s a feeling of mirth in their florescence-specked chromatic array. Rather than one of falling, though, in a way your sensation in this show’s midst might be more like hover-floating in defiance of gravity.
Three shows in one. Three spaces, three curatorial efforts. And 12 artists in the total tally. Such threes in this already winning exhibition will soon even up into sixes when 6<<<>>>6 is altered and augmented for a second-leg, second-wind July run. Check in for what’s sure to be another round of mixed fun.
Photo by Paul D'Agostino