at Jen Bekman Gallery
in the Lower East Side area
This event has ended - (2009-07-15 - 2009-08-22)
“Summer Reading,” a salon-style show up at Jen Bekman Gallery, is as playful as a great summer paperback. It features the work of 27 artists, who all deal with text in various ways.
The exhibition pairs emerging and established artists, such as Jane Mount, Thomas Allen, and Ed Ruscha, side by side in the small gallery, creating an entertaining, unchallenging show. The curators have cast a wide, inclusive net with “Summer Reading.” Some of the work is quite literally text-based. Kelly Shimoda’s photos of cell phones lit up with provocative text messages stand out in stark contrast to Christine Callahan’s Cinema, Asbury Park, New Jersey, which features an old cinema stripped bare of its movie posters. The image is slightly haunting and beautifully depicted, with the absence of text saying more than its presence could.
One great surprise in the show is the appearance of an Ed Ruscha piece, L.A.S.F. #1, a color etching that hangs demurely at the front of the gallery. Its inclusion makes sense given his propensity for working with words. Another artist who helps anchor the show is Tim Walker, whose luminous photographs fit the show’s theme quite loosely. It Rained Outside, So We Camped Inside, England, 2002 is a bizarre scene of pitched tents, lanterns, and laundry strung from a clothing line in an English library; the color saturation and lighting give the image a surreal glow.
“As the temperature rises, citizens flee the city for sandier pastures, armed with summer reading. For the city-locked, we are pleased to present an alternative with some of the best text-inspired artwork from around the globe,” says co-curator Jeffrey Teuton. Just as a summer read should be, the exhibition is intriguing, short, and fast-paced, with a few welcome surprises buried within.