If Art is the mirror of our time then it should have an unwavering reflection visible on the surface. Last August 2nd at Mike Weiss Gallery, Alex Gingrow had a solo exhibition and it’s a very revealing plus humorous look into the art industry. “All the money IS in the label” and other choice texts managed to poke fun at the players of the industry and its denizens. As they say in writing parlance, truth is stranger than fiction and you can’t make up this kind of shit.
But looking past the written element, Gingrow presented a series of meticulously rendered art labels in graphite and acrylic. Each one is carefully recreated to resemble wall text with the trademark logos of the galleries replicated as well. This shows a very acute attention to detail as she has obsessively made each one into a focal work with crisp white borders that pays homage to minimalist ideals. Each one is sleekly framed in white which is old hat to Gingrow who worked five years at a midtown Manhattan frame shop. This work experience afforded her the overheard snippets from major art industry players, museum officials, clients, and peers. The very rich plethora of material casually dropped within earshot provided most of the biting yet hilarious narratives from the few lines you’ll read on her oeuvre.
“Hirst is no Warhol. I mean, maybe after he’s dead. But he’s not there yet.” – With the exacting sharp delivery and knife skills of a surgeon, Gingrow has successfully skewered two iconic names in the realm of appropriated art. Damien Hirst basing his best hits off medical books with its play on life/death and Andy Warhol using commercial products like Campbell’s soup cans integrated into art as its own POPular genre. Andy cemented his claim into the Valhalla of artists after his death while Hirst earlier this year was laudably eulogized for artistic atrophy with his worldwide SPOT painting domination exhibited by Gagosian. Maybe he’ll reach mythic heights like Warhol when he passes away for real. It is this tongue in cheek and sardonic wit presented by Gingrow that everyone can play a story in their heads suggested from the confines of the frame and beyond.
It is a delicate line to cross and to even take a step into this territory that could end an artist’s career. However, Gingrow expresses the timeless function of art reflecting on itself and as with some images in the mirror – it can be scary but nevertheless true. There will be speculations as to who said what but the lines are springboards for a greater discourse. From time to time, Art should not take itself seriously and Gingrow has chronicled it well in absolute precise fashion.
Alex Gingrow: All the money IS in the label / On View: Aug. 2 – Sept. 1, 2012
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (10 am – 6 pm)
Mike Weiss Gallery. 520 West 24th Street. New York, NY 10011
article by: Oscar A. Laluyan
event photos by: Max Noy