Of course nobody’s shocked anymore. Well…maybe a few of the oldest of Old Guard Palm Beachers. Worth Avenue, their Via Condotti-like turf has suffered some bone-chilling temperatures recently, and then there are those stock market reversals. If that’s not shock enough, along comes the Gavlak Gallery to heat things all the way up to sizzling with Think Pink, a new show curated by formidable New York collector, curator and art-party hostess, Beth Rudin DeWoody.
Sarah Gavlak, a Style Section “hottie” herself (and Larry Gagosian alumna) recently set up shop down the road from the likes of Wally Findlay Galleries. (Apples and oranges here). Think Pink is the current show, Pink is Gavlak’s signature color. But draw no icky cotton candy connotations here, please.
In the catalogue’s opening essay artist Mike Kelley observes, “Generally pink is used in fine art as a weapon, deployed deliberately because of its inappropriateness” and his words set the tone for the show. There are over 87 artists represented, both established—Lee Krasner, Marilyn Minter, Louise Bourgeois, Pipilotti Rist, Mary Heilmann—to name just a few of the women-- and emerging talents like Dana Funaro who works at Gavlak. Prices run the gamut from $500 to over $200,000 for a Lynda Benglis polyurethane sculptural piece Swinburne Figure 1, as she tips her hat to the famous “decadent” English poet.
After a walk up the pink winding stairs to the gallery I ‘m greeted first thing by a creepy photo portrait of little Beauty Pageant Queen JonBenet Ramsey (pink dress, pink background). Talk about setting a tone. Only it’s not the murdered 6-year- old from over a decade ago, but a doppelganger by way of L.A. photographer Susan Anderson’s Supergloss print titled Tristin, Age 6, Las Vegas, Nevada. Anderson covered these pageants in 2006. They’re still going strong and here is one scary looking result.
Straight ahead is Zane Lewis’ Untitled (Seduction) . An upsidedown Chanel poster with bleeding pink enamel paint on black plexiglass. Chic! Uh oh. Though Lewis is from NY’s Mixed Greens Gallery, he’s listed elsewhere as “artist/model.” Is this an omen? Turning the corner there’s evidence to the contrary. Perhaps the most arresting (and no-kidding -around-serious) piece come from Olympian artist Marina Abramovic, now starring in New York at MOMA. Her Untitled(Rose Quartz pillows) from 1994 represent the Tzadik according to a Rabbi friend. The “pillows” are set vertically into the wall and anyone facing them with his/her forehead touching the top, heart area the middle and groin/womb the bottom achieves a synthesis of heart, mind and eros, and becomes a righteous person--a Tzadik. It would appear that Abramovic enjoys both a securely anchored ego and rich spiritual life.
Across the room on the floor you look down to see Victor Spinski’s amusing Pink Paint Tray teamed with Nancy Brooks Brody’s oil on cardboard Pink Box. Simple and pretty in pink.
Soon comes the X-rated “Naughty Room.” Lots of clever offerings are tucked away in here, like E.V. Day’s Mummified Barbies, one in silk fringe one in pink casting tape, an objet trouve from Yandin DeFay called Jock Itch and a plexi-mounted print, Sprayed Bush by Kirsten Stoltmann. But the highlight for most of us in the room is Randy Polumbo’s laugh -out -loud Love Sac fashioned from lead crystal, blown glass and LED sex toys he calls his libidinal objects. The whole piece reads merry and puckish. Quite a charming rascal, that Polumbo.
I’ve saved the hallucinogenic bathroom for last. For his labor-intensive efforts, artist Dylan Lynch has plastered the entire room in pink mirrored stickers--including the toilet bowl. (Is this Lynch any relation to David?) You wonder how he survived this installation,
Soon I’m out and down the stairs to breath in more of Worth Avenue, land of Tod driving shoes and eensy dogs swathed in lime-green cashmere. Hallucinations come in lots of packages.
10% of all proceeds from Think Pink go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Images: Susan Anderson, Tristin, Age 6 Las Vegas, Nevada (2006), Fujiflex Supergloss print, 34 x 34 inches; Marina Abramovic, Untitled (Rose Quartz pillow) (1994), Rose Quartz, metal brackets, wood box, lucite plaque, 7.5 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches (each) ; Installation view. Courtesy Gavlak, Palm Beach.