Author: ricardo dominguez --- Date: 5/5/97 --- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC

Bedrooms and Bathrooms

The Fourth Gramercy Art Fair, NYC

May 2 - May 5, 1997


ricardo dominguez

Hallways, livingrooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms are spaces for creation-- especially, when they belong to someone else. The Fouth International Gramercy Art Fair offered galleries and artists spaces to trace the logic of their aesthetics on. Some chose to let the art sit around like tourists with nowhere to go, others played loud music and drank 'till the hotel management kicked them out, while some did unspeakable things in the dark- this group made the most sense of having this event in a hotel. The rest of the art should have stayed in whatever space it came from.

Claude Wampler's "Muffle" performance/installation, presented by Postmasters made use of the environment with an acute sensibilty--hotelrooms are designed for transgressions, for meeting the Other, and knowing that you have to checkout by 11:00 am the next day. Wampler's performance caught the moment of whispers between fucks--she reclined next to a Harley Davison, petting its hard chrome, her machinic desire
--micro-red lights flashing on the palm of her hand, as they watched a porno flick. The flick contained Wampler performing bizzare gestures--such as, sticking a birthday candle in her vaginia and ligthing it. Meanwhile, the Harley, begged for a deeper relationship with her--perhaps that she end her relationship with her fleshpartner and move in with it. All Wampler wants to do is ride again and again. A case of techno-aphanisis framed just right--it's the machines who should live in fear--the flesh will eat anything for a good time, and it will never be enough.

Muffle (performance/installation),
Claude Wampler.
View of installation, 1997.

After spending the night doing the nasty--a shower always restores the Real of any situation. It allows one to gather oneself and contemplate the next gesture--was it just a one-night stand or something that will become a habit? Skip Arnold's performance, (presented by Spencer Brownstone Gallery) taking a four day shower--turns into a Chinese water torture gambit. In the 90's no amount of water is ever going to set us right, make us clean. Nothing can wash away the Real of history. Skip's skin seemed proof of this, by the end of the performance large red marks boiled to the surface. The welts on his body were traces of the unsaid of the event. Art cannot protect the body from the havoc of social sins.

Shower (performance),
Skip Arnold.
View of performance, 1997.

A few other rooms are worth mentioning: Holly Zausner, "Last Illusions," (presented by Margrit Gass Gallery - Basel, Switzerland) wrapped the hotel bed with one of her pink clay figures. A woman on the floor with her legs holding on to the bed created a fine tension between desire and nostalgia. Matthew Marello's "Room 414," (presented by ll Ponte Contemporanea, Rome) created the chaos of pure loss--the room was trashed with large monitors of a man falling into an endless vortex. Even the bathroom housed a monitor in the tub. Several other installation presented sites of recent disasters and a number of galleries attempted to reframe the rooms. It was the work that brought forth the everyday use of the hotel which made the Gramercy Fair worth drifting in.

ricardo dominguez

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gilles --

Completelly agree with the review. Also, this year was much better than the two prevoius one. Sign of the times?

j duck --

choosy mothers choose jif we like skippy