Alone Together

Published July 24, 2012

On a quiet strip between Chinatown and Tribeca, just across the street from the New York County Family Court, is Home Alone Gallery, a new project space curated by artists Leo Fitzpatrick, Hanna Liden and Nate Lowman. Located in a storefront window at 52 Franklin, outside which hangs a “Space For Rent” sign, it’s not your traditional storefront gallery. “I know some tenants in the building,” Fitzpatrick explained. “It’s only a temporary space, so we were able to get it cheap. We wanted it not to be tied to any galleries or neighborhoods.”

Curated collectively by the trio, who Fitzpatricks says have been “friends for such a long time that we generally like the same things,” the space currently is showing The Brancusi Tree by Paul McCarthy. “We all love Paul’s work, and it’s an honor he would even let us show it,” Fitzpatrick explained. “We knew we wanted to open the space fast, and once he agreed to let us have it, it happened even faster.”

Without any context, the piece looks something like a gigantic gold spaceship. “It’s an inflatable butt plug if that’s confusing to anyone out there,” McCarthy said. On the day that I visited, the butt plug had deflated, as if it has lost its vigor due to the heat.

The gallery was named both because the organizers think that “Macaulay Culkin used to be adorable,” and also because, “quite literally, the work is there by itself, with no one to explain what it is, so it’s truly home alone.” Given the location—the space is, after all, located in a side street adjacent to the family court—showing McCarthy’s work without context is unintentionally appropriate. Once you realize what it is, however, the piece becomes deliciously salacious.

The Brancusi Tree will be up until the beginning of August, when it will be replaced by a work by Spencer Sweeney. “We like to keep it really loose, and generally, we don’t know what’s going to happen,” Fitzpatrick said. “I convinced Sweeney to show an older work, but we don’t have a date yet. For more info, you’ll just have to keep your ears to the street.”