Spitting Image

The month-long group exhibition “Gargle/Spit” at TBD on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, offers a rambunctious, yet surprisingly affecting survey of contemporary art. Featuring works by a wide range of artists, including Vito Acconci, Paul Thek, Rachel Harrison, Katherine Bernhardt, Franz West, Richard Artschwager, Claudia Comte, Mary Heilmann and Chris Burden, the show draws its power from the discovery that nine people, as different as they are, resistant of categorization and trace of influence, can exist in such good spirits and conversation with one another.

“Gargle/Spit” is the brainchild of long-time gallerist and curator Kenny Schachter, marking his return to New York after an eleven-year hiatus. “My goals were to depict how art is timeless, not of the moment-as much as it inevitably is,” he says, “and that this collection of now fairly historic pieces seem as fresh and relevant as anything [else] you might see.”

Highlights include Harrison’s Formula Five, a white slab on wheels, and Artschwager’s graphite musings, while a West helicopter hovers in a high corner. Burden, whose life of hazard gave us art, is irreverent: fantastic structures, a memoir made of dealt checks, and in one photograph, himself popping a pistol at an airplane. Given the breadth of the show, viewers benefit from a lap or two, something to which Schachter, who has lived with many of these pieces for years, can attest. As he says, “Taking a maverick, eclectic position with regard to art making is a surefire way to be passed over by the new breed of art consumers.”