Art in the City: No Stone Unturned

03/15/2006 12:00 AM |

Roxanne Wolancz: The Princess Series

The Phatory, 618 E. 9th St.

In a narrow little space in Alphabet City, Sally Lelong runs the Phatory, a gallery specializing in artists who combine digital animation with painting and sculpture. In the current show, Princess Series, Roxanne Wolanczyck creates tongue-in-cheek Flash animations and digital prints about her fantasies of a better life. Wolanczyck’s use of the word “princess” is complicated: she casts herself as royalty to comment on the relative luxury of Americans, but her character is nonetheless struggling to make ends meet in New York. These candy-colored images are her imagined retreats from the daily grind: dressed in a nightgown with a white crown, Wolanczyck, her baby, and her cat wander through lush rainforests, green meadows, and fantasy homes. Basing her digital illustration on photographs, Wolanczyck creates forms that have realistic detail but are crisp and graphic. The most amusing prints are of her dream houses, which come in Modern, Japanese, Islamic, and Indian styles, and represent the domestic daydreams of many New Yorkers.

The Micro Museum
123 Smith St, Brooklyn

The Micro Museum, a collaborative project of the artist duo Kathleen and William Laziza, contains an alternate universe where chairs talk, organs light up, and televisions respond to touch. Since the early 1970s, Kathleen and William have been making interactive sound and video sculptures — their early work resembles Nam June Paik’s manipulated televisions — and in mid the 80s they set up this museum on Smith Street to house their installations and their collaborations with other artists. The most interesting pieces are the interactive televisions whose images can be manipulated by placing objects on the screen or yelling at the set. Many of the works generate psychedelic imagery, and the whole place feels like a vintage funhouse. The technical innovations are impressive, due to William’s engineering prowess, but the aesthetic is varied and exuberantly kitschy. The Lazizas organize a slew of cultural events every year, including their public access show, Spontaneous Combustion, for which they recruit young video artists with similarly imaginative taste.