The work of Jean Lowe caught my eye in 2010 when she presented her ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ show at McKenzie Fine Art in Chelsea (I was happy to see this gallery on Orchard Street now). 2010 was the first time I had seen her quite funny papier-mâché and enamel books with titles like: Who’s Who in American Prisons, What Would Satan Eat?, Biblical Family Values (with a depiction of Lot and his daughters indulging in apparent incest), Something Awesome Is Coming Your Way! (with a medieval vanitas scene of skull and dying flowers on the cover) etc.
I was happy to see there was another of Lowe’s books in this current show: If God Loves Me, Why Do I Need a Vibrator? So, to me, she is poking fun at the delusional self-absorption that she sees in certain strata of our culture and which drives much of the publishing industry. Yet, this show primarily uses an auction house theme, I believe, to further examine the American micro-values that often pervade our daily lives and environment.
When you walk into McKenzie you see that Lowe has painted a Persian rug on canvas which is lying on the floor and has a papier-mâché potted plant in a corner. The walls are covered with “faux auction pages, catalogue covers, and ephemera items”. The auction items are included in regard to a faux sale of ephemera and manuscripts. For instance, there are two catalogue cover inkjet prints, as well as a large painting.
Jean Lowe: Lost Time at McKenzie Fine Art
55 Orchard Street, NYC
September 7 – October 12, 2014