Rashid Johnson, Anicka Yi, and Other Art Stars Twist Reality and Truth in This East Hampton Show—See Images Here

As galleries and art institutions around the world begin to reopen, we are spotlighting individual shows—online and IRL—that are worth your attention.

Tony Matelli, Horse (2017). Courtesy of the artist.
Tony Matelli, Horse (2017). Courtesy of the artist.

As galleries and art institutions around the world begin to reopen, we are spotlighting individual shows—online and IRL—that are worth your attention.

 

Friend of Ours
at Rental Gallery, East Hampton
through July 30

 

What the gallery says: “‘Friend of Ours’ presents leading contemporary artists who bend reality in such a way as to make the viewer question their own lying eyes. Who even knows what is real anymore? Beyond any pedestrian sense of ‘fake news,’ we drift in an epoch wherein no one seems to agree on any basic premise. Everything we look at is presumed to have always already been face-tuned and photoshopped, and when our brains attempt to decode art objects they are filtered through our presumption that they have been ‘fixed in post.’

Using a variety of strategies, all of the artists included in ‘Friend of Ours’ complicate the reading of reality. Many of the artists in the exhibition make objects that seem to have been digitally altered when in fact they are what they are. Others use form and scale to confuse our ability to read what is before our eyes in subtler ways. The line where craft and After Effects meet is blurred and rendered moot. As a whole, the works in the exhibition operate as a new form of trompe-l’oeil, confusing our digitally native brains’ perceptive abilities.”

Why it’s worth a look: If you’re lucky enough to be out east this summer, there’s no shortage of gallery shows offering (socially distanced) viewing experiences. At Rental Gallery—which set up shop on Newton Lane long before it was pandemic trendy—a group show of quirky, thoughtful, and timely works is the perfect re-entry into IRL art exploration.

Some of the works are clearly reflections on the current state of the world, including Rashid Johnson’s Untitled Anxious Red Drawing (2020), a frenetic red canvas produced during quarantine, and Sayre Gomez’s Untitled (2020), a gray canvas painted with “BLM” and “I can’t breathe” and accompanied by an illustration of the grim reaper. Other works are more ambiguous, though it seems like everything these days has new meaning, such as Mungo Thompson’s Snowman, a bronze-cast sculpture of three Amazon delivery boxes, the new omnipresent accessories of life in lockdown.

The show is curated by Joel Mesler, who owns the gallery, and Benjamin Godsill of the art advisory Curatorial Services. It features artists Farah Al Qasimi, Sayre Gomez, Henry Gunderson, Hugh Hayden, Alex Israel, Matt Johnson, Rashid Johnson, Josh Kline, Fredrick Kunath, Robert Longo, Tony Matelli, Borna Sammak, Mungo Thomson, Austyn Weiner, Jonas Wood, and Anicka Yi.

The gallery is donating a portion of proceeds from exhibition sales to Black Lives Matter and Stony Brook Southampton Hospital’s Healthcare Heroes Fund for COVID-19.‍

What it looks like:

Installation view, "Friends of Ours" at Rental Gallery, July 2020.

Installation view, “Friend of Ours” at Rental Gallery, July 2020.

Josh Kline, Keep the Change (Texas Roadhouse Waiter’s Head with Cap) [detail] (2018). Courtesy of the artist.

Friedrich Kunath

Friedrich Kunath, For the Last Time, Hello (2020). Courtesy of the artist.

Matt Johnson, <i>3 Intersecting Books (Henry Moore, Michelangelo, and Bonsai)</i> (2020). Courtesy of the artist.

Matt Johnson, 3 Intersecting Books (Henry Moore, Michelangelo, and Bonsai) (2020). Courtesy of the artist.

Installation view, "Friends of Ours" at Rental Gallery, July 2020.

Installation view, “Friend of Ours” at Rental Gallery, July 2020.

Jonas Wood, Shelf Still Life (2015). Courtesy of the artist.

Alex Israel, Casting (2015). Courtesy of the artist.

Farah Al Qasimi, <i>Curtain Shop</i> (2019). Courtesy of the artist.

Farah Al Qasimi, Curtain Shop (2019). Courtesy of the artist.

Anicka Yi, Cascade of Failure (2020). Courtesy of the artist.

Austyn Weiner, Working Through Not Knowing a Damn Thing About Any Thing (2020). Courtesy of the artist.

Sayre Gomez, Untitled (2020). Courtesy of the artist.

Installation view, "Friends of Ours" at Rental Gallery, July 2020.

Installation view, “Friend of Ours” at Rental Gallery, July 2020.

Installation view, “Friend of Ours” at Rental Gallery, July 2020.

Installation view, "Friends of Ours" at Rental Gallery, July 2020.

Installation view, “Friends of Ours” at Rental Gallery, July 2020.

Rashid Johnson, Untitled Anxious Red Drawing (2020). Courtesy of the artist.

Robert Longo, Study of Rio Cops, Baltimore (2016). Courtesy of the artist.

Henry Gunderson, Henry Sux #3 (2020). Courtesy of the artist.


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