“In the thin hallway gallery adjacent to the bulk of the show, prints made with the obsolete hectographic method—the kind used by the anti-colonial activists—use agar-agar, a common Asian dessert ingredient, to display English, Vietnamese and French iterations of the pro-immigration rallying cry “We are here because you were there.” The artist’s royal purple agitprop hangs over the observer’s heads like Damocles’ sword, a powerful reminder that history is written in blood and spoken through the gnashing of teeth. One leaves the show with eyes open, but blurred by now-knowing tears.”
In the hall outside the main space, an array of paint cans—actually wood, and liable to tip right over if one bumps them—sit on nightstands, surreal vignettes within and around them (a Hockney scene post-summer, leaves and furniture in a tiny empty pool in a drawer; a potato which wanders the wall like the world’s starchiest spider) suggesting the kind of sleep-deprivation-derived trompe l’oeil one gets in a dawn-lit bedroom after a prolonged coke binge, something just beyond the playfulness of his material alchemy and with the slightest soupçon of strange menace, the uncanny power of trompe l’esprit.
“The installation A 240 Second Analysis of Failure and Hopefulness (with Coke, Vinegar, and other Tear Gas Remedies) consists of 160 color slides shown on two synchronized slide carousel projectors. It is a slideshow of the urban life cycle: building gets knocked down, new building gets put up, until it becomes old and/or unwanted enough or its land becomes desirable enough to have it get knocked down again. [Basim] Magdy’s films were bathed in Coke, vinegar, and tear gas remedies, in a process the artist calls “pickling,” resulting in otherworldly blues, pinks, and greens with the hazy buzz of old 3D images or ancient photos.”
“Shattered tempered glass twinkles coquettishly, promising danger and beauty. Growing up in Brighton Park on Chicago’s Southwest Side, Rolón remembers both the exquisiteness of the sun striking broken car windows in the street and the realization that something bad had happened to make that shimmering moment. These pieces in the Bochinche room take elements from the shattered window and evoke a night sky.”
“Fifteen pairs of shoes—their exteriors a gleaming bronze, their guts redacted, black giraffe tongues and the faintest maker’s marks like lingering scars on their insides—line the wall atop white shelves, each with a silver dog-tag bearing the name of the shoe’s owner, an indelibly sexy display, a message couched in and enchanted by the visual merchandizer’s art. Although obliquely uniform in their brilliant armor, they represent a panoply of styles—from muscular sneakers with toe caps like cuirasses to chic heels, reptilian loafers to porous trainers—and come from an array of owners.”