“Out of Joint” at The Boiler 191, NYC (Review)

Installation view, “Out of Joint” at The Boiler 191, New York, 2023.

“OUT of Joint,” the latest exhibition at The Boiler 191, showcases the thought-provoking work of six New York-based artists who delve into the destabilizing forces of our rapidly changing world. The show features the work of Yasmeen Abdallah, Levani, Louisa Pancoast, Melissa Stern, John O’Connor, and Etty Yaniv. From ecological to socio-political processes, these artists explore the uncertainties that disrupt our anticipation of a recognizable future. Through their meticulous scavenging for evidence and transformative artistic processes, they bring forth installations and drawings that respond to the site and challenge our perceptions.

The exhibition cleverly employs playful juxtapositions and a range of artistic mediums to tackle the contradiction inherent in the feeling of inevitable uncertainty. Found objects, figurative sculptures, linguistic follies, and dance come together to emphasize the impact of these emergent processes. Humor becomes a tool for the artists to gain agency over uncertainty, shedding light on the contradictions and allowing viewers to navigate the complexities of the subject matter.

Within the space of The Boiler, the premise of destabilization is further highlighted. The architectural relic, simultaneously an industrial icon and an ancient cave, becomes a metaphor for the larger world. Each artist engages with the space in their own way, either directly or indirectly, framing the architecture as a representation of the broader environment.

John O’Connor, Blood Pressure, 2011 – 2023, colored pencil and graphite on shaped paper, 77 1/2” x 70”.

Melissa Stern’s whimsical mixed-media sculptures possess a compelling psychological presence. With dark humor, she reflects on the need for connection and solitude as an artist during the pandemic. John O’Connor’s large-scale drawing weaves personal communications, corporate speak, AI-generated text, and fictional prose into a complex web of linguistic disorientation. Levani’s sculpture features a large nest hosting palm-tree buds, cast in pigmented resin and latex. Resembling organs and cocoons, these objects symbolize the porous boundaries of the ecosphere.

Levani, where the palms nest, 2020-2023 Nest, dry flowers exchanged between the artist and their lover over the last three years, coconuts cast in scented wax with pyrite, mirth, incense, and violets, transparent cerulean neon, Nest 60” (diameter), overall dimensions variable.

Yasmeen Abdallah and Etty Yaniv utilize disjointed used materials in their site-responsive and tactile installations, generating contrasting gravitational forces. Yasmeen Abdallah’s airy pieces soar up a tall brick wall, juxtaposed with a suspended, human-scale, hand-stitched soft sculpture. On the other hand, Etty Yaniv’s colorful mixed-material mobiles spill dense clusters down to the floor, creating a sense of disrupted ecologies. Louisa Pancoast, a dancer, and choreographer, explores kinetic energy and duration, further expanding on the ideas latent in the visual work.

Etty Yaniv, The Return of Lost Objects, 2023, acrylic, plastic, wood, paper, found objects, wire, fan Dimensions variable, site-specific.

The artists in “OUT of Joint” approach their work with a range of sensibilities, from minimalist to maximalist, monochrome to color-blasted. Through their distinct perspectives, they confront the splintering of reality into seemingly nonsensical actions and reactions, which are then seamlessly merged into new subjectivities. This exhibition presents a tentative landscape of liquidity, where each artwork visually illustrates a yearning to plan for a future and act in meaningful ways.

Installation view, “Out of Joint” at The Boiler 191, New York, 2023. (L-R) Melisa Stern and Yasmeen Abdallah.

“OUT of Joint” at The Boiler successfully captures the essence of our unpredictable times. It invites viewers to explore the multifaceted nature of uncertainty, prompting introspection and stimulating conversations about the complex challenges we face in an ever-changing world. The artists’ ability to transform materials, engage with the space, and create thought-provoking installations is commendable. This exhibition is a testament to the power of art in conveying profound ideas and encouraging active reflection on our collective future.


“Out of Joint” at The Boiler 191

Closing reception: 05.27.23 6-9 pm

Dance performance: 7 pm

191 North 14th Street, Brooklyn, NY

Funding has been made possible in part by the Puffin Foundation, Lt.d.


-Lucas Knight

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  1. The artists in “OUT of Joint” approach their work with a range of sensibilities, from minimalist to maximalist, monochrome to color-blasted.

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