Defying most summer group roundups, Salon 94 is presenting a compendium of works by some of the most exhilarating artists around. Curated by Huma Bhabha, a member of Salon’s stable, the show features contributors who have inspired each other’s art in some fashion. In addition to the impressive lineup—Bhabha; her husband, Jason Fox; Joe Bradley; Sterling Ruby; Daniel Hesidence; David Altmejd; Jules de Balincourt; Julie Mehretu; Dana Schutz; and, for good measure, YBA provocateur Sarah Lucas—all the works are recent and largely unexhibited until now. The result packs some delectable surprises.
The most startling come from Schutz, Ruby and Altmejd. Schutz, whose recent solo show felt a bit transitional, hits her groove with Fan, a large, loose and nonfussy painting featuring an angularly sculpted man struggling to put on or take off his shirt, his spread legs spanning the width of the composition. Ruby is represented by a large and loopy, Mike Kelly-esque fabric sculpture titled Vampire Flag—part of a recent series of soft sculptures—as well as by a work composed of packing blankets and bits of felt covered with American flags and USA insignia: a rough-hewn Rauschenbergian collage that both celebrates and sends up patriotism. Meanwhile, Altmejd’s tall Plexiglas vitrines feature coconut shells and hair instead of the usual macabre animal or human body parts.
The works in the space downstairs mightily play off one another. The primeval aura of Bhabha’s junk-and-Styrofoam figure is echoed in Bradley’s Paleolithic-cave-like painting and in Mehretu’s Twombly-style canvas. Finally, paintings by Daniel Hesidence and Jason Fox—who offers his fiery red canine salute, 2 Dogs with Lightning—round out this top-notch show.—Nana Asfour