For sheer razzle, dazzle, the installation of Janet Cardiff and Georges Miller at Luhring Augustine in NYC takes the cake. I was entertained by a very funny and somewhat malevolent carousel, The Carnie. In the center a very dark white box gallery, this conglomeration of fiberglass animals and moving lights was very much alive and almost dangerous – I’m sure the late Ed Kienholz would have loved this one.
When you walked to the back of the gallery one encountered a beautiful old and naturally distressed oak card cabinet sitting in the middle of the room, looking forlorn, until you pull open one of the drawers – and then the magic begins. Each drawer has its own sound track – sort of like a unique language for every country. Of course, as soon as you close the cabinet the music stops, allowing you to ponder what role you play in it all.
Speaking of the late Ed Kienholz, in my mind the most under-appreciated sculptor out there, don’t miss the very rare installation of Roxys, his macabre recreation of a bordello, at David Zwirner. Ed was definitely his own soul, a true rebel who once refused to take a call from the Whitney! But his art is all his own and shows all his strengths, his sardonic wit, his amazing polymath skill with materials, and his utter disregard for normality. Long live Kienholz!