Nightmare on Greene Street

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Published November 16, 2009

RAQIB SHAW, THE DOVE OF PEACE THAT JUST WENT UNNOTICED

 

 

Friday night’s opening of “A Nightmare Full of Things Unspeakable” was not an event to miss by sleeping. Curated by Nicola Vassell, who works down the street as a director of Deitch Projects, and curator/dealer Karline Moeller, the 13(!)-artist show doubled as a salon for friends in Nicola’s five-floor walk-up apartment, which they call concept v.

Inspired by Vassell’s and Moeller’s evidently eventful summer travels, the show’s theme was hysteria. “In daily life you see this hysteria; not only in politics but in sex, fear, religion, everything. The idea here was to embody this hysteria, whether it’s by the artist’s process or the final outcome,” explained Moeller. Vassell added, “The show is based on our personal relationships with artists we love and believe in.” Sounds like a behind-the-scenes in the making.

Upon entering the space, the first work is Gelitin’s colorful, childish and odd collage of plastilline and wood characters. Across the hall, Katharina Sieverding’s fractured, psychedelic photographic self-portrait offers a type of madness more self-reflexive but similarly extroverted. This is the first
time Sieverding’s work is exhibited with that of her daughter, Pola. Sieverding, Jr., shows a lush still-life photograph of a wrist saddlebagged with designer watches and jewelry. London-based Raqib Shaw makes a similar connection of luxury to madness. His bedazzled watercolor, The Dove of Peace that Just Went Unnoticed, witnesses exotic birds pulling out the eyes and entrails of warriors. Meanwhile, Rachel Kneebone’s madness is one of bodily deliquescence, mixed with a near-psychotic verve for delicacy. Kneebone’s elegant porcelain tendrils sit atop a pyramid like some shrine to extra-terrestrial life-in-formation. In a home like this, what’s to be precious about?

“A Nightmare Full of Things Unspeakable” is on view through January 30, Tues–Sat, 12–7 PM. concept V is located at 96 Greene Street, 5th fl.