New York Postcard: Utopian Ideals

Art Life , Stuff Dec 14, 2017 No Comments

George Shaw reports from the ‘capital of gloss and rampant consumerism’…



Jonathan Monaghan, Disco Beast, 2016 (video still)

Jonathan Monaghan, Disco Beast, 2016 (video still)

Jonathan Monaghan, The Unicorn in Captivity, 2017

Jonathan Monaghan, You’ll Like it Here, 2017

Jonathan Monaghan, Life’s Better When We’re Connected, 2017

New York is the capital of gloss and rampant consumerism. At Bitforms Gallery, Jonathan Monaghan thinks so too with his show Disco Beast. The eponymous centrepiece is an 18-minute CGI video in which a unicorn walks through a hyper-capitalist dystopia of opulent, abandoned environments littered with the refuse of better days, seemingly in search of utopian ideals now that there’s nothing left. The same tone permeates the ominous vignettes of forgotten, corporate techno-spheres with designer fabrics and penthouse views, once under the gaze of security cameras and TSA checkpoints.


Nina Chanel Abney, Fanny Pack, 2017

Nina Chanel Abney, Fruit of the Womb, 2017

Nina Chanel Abney, Guns and Butter, 2017

Nina Chanel Abney, People at Peoples Beach, 2017

Nina Chanel Abney, Pooh-Pooh, 2017

According to Nina Chanel Abney, her show Safe house at the Mary Boone Gallery explores “how to feel the way you felt before you knew what you know now,” and ask the questions “How to reclaim anger? How to find joy in the mundane?” Abney’s multi-faceted scenarios depicting the ebb and flow of daily life, aim to challenge media portrayals and notions of blackness. They are abstracted versions of 1960s posters that address aspects of occupational, home and leisure safety. Abney then paints objects and text that articulate urban life.

Mary Frank, Untitled, n.d.

Mary Frank, Untitled, n.d.

Mary Frank, Untitled, n.d.

Mary Frank, Untitled, n.d.

Mary Frank, Untitled, n.d.

For sixty years, Mary Frank has created ‘composed photographs’ that she considers to be deeply personal works; raw, political cries about destruction, displacement and inhumane struggles. At the DC Moore Gallery, Frank presents sixty images of mythic rugged worlds filled with ambiguity and urgency. They are first constructed as assemblages of stone, charred wood, ice, fire, flowers, and branches. She also often then draws and collages adding to the scenes, and then photographs them. However, her touch can also be modest and elegant at times without sacrificing depth or meaning.

George Shaw

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