At Luhring Augustine, Charles Atlas Delivers a Fantabulous View of Failure

THE DAILY PIC: The artist gives us bagpipes and sunsets and a singing drag queen.


THE DAILY PIC: OK, so I cop to being unable to resist art with bagpipes in it, and rarely finding any. (Sorry, but I married a red-head Celt whose dowry included her dad’s army kilt.) Charles Atlas’s wonderful new video exhibition, called The Waning of Justice and now on view at Luhring Augustine gallery in New York, includes some honking good pipes (or good-honking pipes) but also a wonderful mashup of a dozen sunsets and footage of a fantabulous drag queen belting out a song and monologuing on politics. (Click on my image to watch a clip.) Atlas’s exhibition is tremendously complex, but, as its title suggests, it’s about all kinds of damage and disappointments, from global warming and death (the bagpipes are playing a mournful pibroch) to the travails of love and war (the drag queen sings “you were the one; I knew it, but I blew it” and talks about American troops in the Middle East). The gloomy sentiments will be familiar to any non-oligarch alive today, but they are artfully balanced by sleek production values that make art feel like a remedy for our blues. The drag queen may have blown it, but her bouffant says that she’ll carry on. (Photograph by Farzad Owrang; ©Charles Atlas, courtesy Atlas and Luhring Augustine, New York)

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