I first came across Liz-N-Val’s work at POOL Art Fair where their playful, colorful, and humorous canvases caught my attention. Until the end of May Gallery onetwentyeight on the Lower East Side is now hosting a selection of their work from the past 30 years. I was happy to find Liz holding court at the gallery the day I visited and we got to chat about the early days when it was Clark and Goroshko instead of Liz-N-Val, the various ‘MuseuM’s they’ve established, the ire they’ve attracted from overly-sensitive museum curators and their overwhelming desire to just “have fun” while making art, because, after all, “Why do it if you can’t have fun?”
Liz-N-Val (Liz Clark and Val Goroshko) began working together in the late 70’s and have been turning out their uniquely sardonic brand ever since. The variety of different media they’ve worked in and their refusal to conform to one style is immediately apparent upon entering the gallery where you’ll find paintings, collages, sculptures, assemblages, and photography. Most of the works are small in scale, but many feature even tinier little people, dwarfed by the relative size of the artwork surrounding them, forming a sort-of Pop Sublime aesthetic.
Throughout their works Liz-N-Val engage with art historical themes, repurpose found materials, and nearly always comment on the commercialism of art and the language of advertising. Like winking art hucksters, they don’t deny the commercial self-promotion of art—they embrace it in a way, taking out ads, bringing their art out on the street, literally spelling out their intentions on the works. Exchange value remains unhidden. The bill of sale IS the artwork. Welcome to the MuseuM of Everything, or the MuseuM of Something-N-Nothing, or the MuseuM of Anything.
(Images: Liz-N-Val, Monastery,1978, Mixed Media, 17"x24"x8". Liz-N-Val, MFA Graduate, 2005. Liz-N-Val, On Sale, 1978. © Liz-N-Valcourtesy of Liz-N-Val and Gallery onetwentyeight.)