I get a kick out of you



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If you're a die-hard skeptic, Paul Laffoley's art probably isn't for you. If you buy into culty, sci-fi conspiracy theories, I'd suggest you steer clear of his work too (for the same reason you should avoid those tables advertising "Free Stress Tests" in subway stations). But if you're into seeing a whacked-out cross-section of the art world this month, go ahead and check out Laffoley's show of paintings, on view at Kent Gallery in Chelsea through February 17. But proceed with caution.

At his opening this past Thursday, a peculiar gallery crowd grew around the artist. Laffoley had been telling his life story to a group of ragtag yet earnest listeners, explaining that in the early '90s, a routine CAT scan uncovered a metal chip in his head—implanted there, he claims, by aliens. Seems this close encounter was the best thing to happen to his art career: The extraterrestrial gizmo supposedly drives him to make his obsessive-compulsive paintings—chock-full of pyramids, diagrams and phrases like "the natural goal of spirit-matter" (WTF?).

But perhaps most shocking of all—even more shocking than the works themselves, which, I forgot to mention, are completely whack—was the artist's prosthetic foot resembling a lion's paw. Afraid to talk to Laffoley directly, I asked the equally scary-looking bartender what was up with the feline appendage. The bartender kindly informed me that, approximately ten years ago, Laffoley had his foot amputated after a gallery accident at Kent and subsequently commissioned Hollywood special-effects expert Stan Winston to make him a new leg.

I was about to ask if the accident had anything to do with his alien encounters, but a little voice in my head cautioned me to probe no further.

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