Swing State is a group show in a temporary space that curator and dealer Jane Kim has opened on Hester Street. The show “embraces our world of uncertainty” and captures “the gray area that thrives between extremes.” Although its electoral college nomenclature seems a few months late, it’s actually quite timely. For example, we all know by now how a few democrat senators voted against their party, sinking new and reasonable gun legislation, possibly fearful of the next election. Meanwhile, hear the accelerating rhythm of republican senators switching over to support marriage equality. Or less politically, there’s this week’s “Grasshopper” rocket, which SpaceX successfully launched straight up and then straight back down, with a few seconds of apparent floating? (Left and right, next launch?)
Jane Kim Gallery
Hence, Swing State “looks at the middle state between two places, whether in presidential elections, or in the creative states where the middle ignites ideas that are sometimes vulnerable and full of doubt.” The show features some frequently exhibited “fixtures” among our artist peers, and while some connections between them seem established, others strike me as surprising.
(l-r) Lisa Beck, Steve diBenedetto, Fabian Marcaccio, Tamara Gonzalez in "Swing State" (IMAGE: Tom Powell)
For example, Steve diBenedetto and Fabian Marcaccio have chosen awesomely grotesque, dense images that evoke violence and isolation; Marcaccio “swings” between painting, printing, and sculpture. They also exhibited together in a 2009 show that deBenedetto curated at David Nolan Gallery. Nearby, Thomas Nozkowski and David Shaw, combined, open up new possibilities. Here, Shaw exhibits a painting, instead of his sculptures built from natural wood forms, but this painting and those wood sculptures harmonize with Nozkowski’s floor sculpture, Untitled. Both combine natural, earth-derived materials with manufactured, recreational elements. And the Nozkowski sculpture here hasn’t been seen since he showed it in 1976 at the legendary Betty Parsons Gallery.
Thomas Nozkowski, "Untitled," 1976
Another surprise was the trio of sculptures by Joanne Greenbaum that look like viscera and entrails after the Phagwah Parade. The flexibly architectural abstractions I’ve seen of hers at D’Amelio Terras were always energizing, but I’d never seen her sculptures – a “swing” across media? They strike me as more tightly wound and pent up than her paintings, layered and beaming palimpsests in which spaces are often open fields. Here, spaces are tightening channels.
Joanne Greenbaum sculptures (IMAGE: Tom Powell)
Jane Kim is no stranger to the Lower East Side. Her previous gallery, Thrust Projects, was based at 114 Bowery, before most of the LES stalwarts. Thrust Projects exhibited artists who were increasingly in demand – R.H. Quaytman, Carrie Moyer, Ben Butler – and artists well established (Amy Sillman, David Humphrey, Lisa Yuskavage).
The gallery also features a “book hub” with printed material about the Swing State artists.