thrill is gone. When BB King sang it sounded bittersweet. When Scott Campbell
inscribes it into a stack of one dollar bills in Latino gang script, it feels
different. Like it doesn’t evenmatter that it’s gone, because let’s just have
fun anyway. And in the barrage of summer group shows, that fun seems to be the
recurrent theme. Even the serious ones seem to be willing to trade in deeper goals
for just plain fun. And why not? It’s summer.
In Phantasmagoria, the new Moeller Snow
Gallery- not quite Lower East Side, not quite Soho- offers up fun in a bunch of
flavors, emphasized by the fuchsia floor and the slightly skewed work in it.
Along with Campbell’s apparently melancholic phrases, Joseph Heidecker’s bound
and glued sculptures of animals and retouched period photos make a statement
that is as comical as they are challenging. When the pins stick out of the sparrow’s
head, its body bound in wire, you have to smile and feel the bittersweet prick
of a love gone wonderfully awry. With bucolic portraits from the fifties as his
raw material, Heidecker harkens back to a simpler time. But in the vein of Todd
Haynes Far from Heaven, Heidecker suggests a perversity and darkness that Happy Days never
dared. The thrill may be gone, but another one is just around the corner.
Images: Scott Campbell, The Thrill Is Gone (2008); Joseph Heidecker, Sparrow (Needles) (2008). Courtesy Moeller Snow Gallery.