Over the weekend, a new group exhibition entitled “Stay in Love,” curated by the Mexico City-living, American-born critic Chris Sharp, opened at two galleries on New York’s Lower East Side, Lisa Cooley and Laurel Gitlen. Here’s the opening salvo:
Stay in Love is an exhibition about monomania and manual repetition. Bringing together a heterogeneous group of historical, established and emerging artists, this show elegiacally explores the classical, paradox-laden trope of manual repetition and devotion to a single subject in the 21st century. True to the obsolescent nature of its theme, Stay in Love deliberately limits itself to a manual and analogue processes of repetition.
Though a few of the works were created well before the turn of the 21st century, they still speak to an idea of singular drive that Sharp aims to pin down in an age where constant distraction leads to lack of focus. Yayoi Kusama, who has a small piece in the Lisa Cooley portion of the show, is renown for her fixation on singular thoughts—her recent David Zwirner exhibition proved that yet again. And yet, here, away from the context of her factory-level prolificacy, her work rings with a tranquility generally reserved for post-impressionist landscapes. That’s a subtle message at the core of each of the artworks presented in the show: at the heart of obsession lies a peace, a countervailing serenity to a singular fascination.
This is reflected time and again throughout "Stay in Love," most convincingly by the Tacita Dean short film Still Life; the filmmaker entered the studio of painter Giorgio Morandi and made incredible footage of his obsessive, preliminary drawings. Though there is little or no movement in the film, the employment of a second (and curatorial third) medium to the work presents an ingrained, melancholy documentation of trying to get "it" right, over and over again. So perhaps the collection speaks to the notion that artists are better-utilized in dialogue with one another, instead of in soliloquy. That’s the thrust of these two galleries, just feet apart from one another, coming together to host this beautiful show.
“Stay in Love” shows at the Laurel Gitlen and Lisa Cooley galleries at 122 and 107 Norfolk Street, respectively, until February 2. The full list of artists includes: Lucas Arruda, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Wallace Berman, Sebastian Black, Andy Boot, André Cadere, Hanne Darboven, Tacita Dean, Peter Dreher, Maureen Gallace, Jef Geys, On Kawara, Jochen Lempert, Jean-Luc Moulène, Linda Fregni Nagler, Roman Opalka, Josh Smith, Kyle Thurman, Miroslav Tichý, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Claude Viallat, and B. Wurtz.
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