The Frieze Week Mini-Fair SEVEN Scores a 10 in Brooklyn
Few of the Frieze Week art fairs will be as spacious or comfortably installed as its smallest, seven @ SEVEN, which opened on Saturday in Brooklyn and continues through May 20. The hybrid exhibition — part art fair, part group show — has each of the seven participating galleries presenting one piece by one artist (with the partial exception of Ronald Feldman Gallery, which is showing a video by Gil Yefman and a sculpture that appears therein). The artists make terrific use of Williamsburg gallery Pierogi's enormous satellite space The Boiler, taking advantage of its soaring ceilings and old industrial chic to show off large-scale drawings and sculptures, site-specific installations, and a huge tire swing made of flowers.
Though the works on view are all either very large or very loud — Yefman’s video features excerpts from a very catchy Jacksons song and other noises — they hang together relatively harmoniously. This is partly due to the broad range of media and images included. Near the entrance to the space is “Watch Your Step” (2012), an installation by Postmasters artist Diana Cooper that features framed images and small sculptures mounted on the wall. The salon-style arrangement of bold-toned stock imagery, abstract forms, and strange synthetic materials has its reciprocal in PPOW artist Ben Gocker’s sprawling tabletop installation across the room. Piled high with rough-hewn sculptures, novelty plastic tchotchkes, half-eaten slices of white bread, and mounds of sand, Gocker’s piece is at once child-like and grotesque.
Yefman takes up this same aesthetic in his short video “Shivers,” where a figure dressed in the artist’s characteristically monstrous knitwear — all exposed flesh, erogenous zones, and orifices — dances and crawls spastically across a cartoon landscape of similarly squishy volcanic hills. The sculpture “Blood Moon” (2010) appears briefly in the video and hangs near the center of the Boiler. A small, nude, hermaphroditic figure stands atop the dripping red knitted planet, Little Prince-like. A sculpture by a different artist hanging nearby suggests innocence and play of a different sort: Andy Yoder’s semi-circle of small, fake yellow flowers, hanging against a mirror, conjures a kind of pastoral childhood fantasy.
Against these bright and playful works the show’s most sober works stand out. Pierogi artist Dawn Clements’s latest monumental sumi ink drawing offers a view of the objects on her studio desk, a strange assortment of random items and small sculptures blown up to practically geological proportions. Like Gocker’s installation, Clements’s drawing suggests a mountain range of man-made objects. But BravinLee programs artist Emil Lukas’s site-specific installation, “Skin” (2012), is without a doubt the show’s most literally mountainous work. He stretched a sheet of heat-shrunk white plastic over a quarter of the hulking old boiler, its innumerable pipes, dials, nobs, and levers forming strange, abstract protrusions under the shiny material. Its folds and creases echo those in Clements’s crinkled paper, while its tactile surface recalls the uncanny knitting in Yefman’s work. As an exhibition seven @ SEVEN hangs together very well; time will tell whether it works as an art fair too.
To see images of the "seven @ SEVEN" installation at the Boiler, click the slide show.