Tue Aug 12 2008
Photograph: Courtesy the artist and Freight + Volume Gallery
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
Agreement Room, Chris Hanson and Hendrika Sonnenberg’s video loop of hockey fights, provides the perfect metaphor for the group show curated by Jim Lee and Rob Nadeau, which features 17 works duking it out for attention in this diminutive Chelsea space.
Dominating the entryway is Daniel Seiple’s huge signboard, reading: love thy neighbor, which comes with a rich backstory: Apparently a farmer in rural Pennsylvania dumped chicken poop on the property of the local preacher—who then went after the farmer’s landlord by planting a placard in his front yard with a message telling him, in effect, what to do with the droppings. The object in the gallery is the landlord’s reply, appropriated here by Seiple to update Robert Smithson’s “non-site” series (whereby the earthwork pioneer would bring rocks and soil collected from other places into the gallery).
Wendy White, Tamara Zahaykevich and Ivin Ballen offer self-contained paintings-cum-sculptures that highlight the ongoing tussle between the ready-made and the handmade art object. But it is Rob Erickson’s diminutive, blink-and-you-miss-them Xerox wall transfers of photos of street cultures (e.g. skater punks) that are the true gems. Scattered throughout the gallery, these pieces remind us how art can create contemplative and imaginative spaces beyond the limits of real estate.
By and large, the organizers successfully utilize the well-worn group-exhibition format without crashing and burning. “Accident Blackspot,” which refers to the roadside designation for crash scenes in Britain, proves how this approach can still offer exciting results, even if, as it’s become increasingly clear this summer, other shows haven’t proved so lucky.