Art in the City: The Ad Game

02/14/2007 12:00 AM |

Instead of a long-winded, B.S.-peppered exposition, the press release for Justin Lieberman’s latest show reads, simply, “For the exhibition Agency (Open House), I have transformed the gallery into an advertising agency, to the best of my ability. Justin Lieberman, artist.” What the statement doesn’t reveal is Lieberman’s twisted, punny sense of humor — or that “the best of [his] ability” yielded shoddy structures leaking globs of hot glue and uneven puddles of varnish that make the whole show hilariously tongue-in-cheek. In the front gallery is a series of back-lit advertisements — for Wachovia, Prada and Peanut Butter, among other things —that have been recast with wry touches. Words from the National Peanut Board’s tagline, “Why pay a therapist to get in touch with your inner child?” (you may have seen it on posters in the subway) have been vandalized so that the new sentence reads, “Why pay a rapist to touch your child?”— only debatably more off-color than the image of the artist receiving fellatio in the shower while shooting up (and this is in the Prada ad). The back gallery is where the magic happens: A large wooden desk with chairs on wheels (here you’ll find the messy carpentry) and a mock inspirational poster on the wall poke merciless fun at the stilted world of office idea generation.