"Lots of Things Like This"

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

The Royal Art Lodge, Poster Making

Photograph: Courtesy Apexart

At apexart, Dave Eggers curates a drawing show with the same mix of witty irreverence and self-consciousness he first branded in McSweeney’s. Here, he unites a remarkably cross-disciplinary group of artists—Art Spiegelman, David Shrigley, Leonard Cohen and Kurt Vonnegut among them. The author and former cartoonist (earlier in his career) has selected 100-odd artworks that fit the criteria of being both humorous and textual. A salon-style installation—offset by quirky props throughout—makes for an unpretentious and affably irreverent show.

Viewers arrive at a sign reading WELCOME TO THE DMV (a pencil-and-gouache work by Tucker Nichols), under which hangs a number dispenser like those found at deli counters. Nearby, a basket is filled with plastic magnifying glasses to take through the show, setting a tone of egalitarian contemplation from the start.

Tucker Nichols, Hey Ladies

Photograph: Courtesy Apexart

After this lighthearted introduction, visitors may be inclined to view everything here through a rosy lens—even works which might seem sinister elsewhere. Raymond Pettibon’s silhouetted penis with FORGET THE MEANING OF JOY JUST ENJOY inked above it, hangs near a drawing by Henry Darger that depicts his signature Vivian Girls wrapped up in rugs above the notation attempt to get away. While psychological turmoil has always permeated the oeuvres of these two artists, their droll sides win out here.

The last wall of drawings honors the forefathers of funny text-art: Duchamp, Warhol and Magritte. In front of reproductions of their work, an antique school desk invites viewers to study the masters. While this gesture might be cloying in another context, here it reflects Eggers’s desire to make viewers think—and above all, to just enjoy themselves.

apexart, through May 10