This reliably interesting small gallery brings together artworks that arise out of, or draw from, non-fine-art traditions. The exhibition title (a quote from JFK) suggests an art world in crisis. While the show includes a couple of market favorites, it makes a strong case for more sustainable modes of making and looking at art than are prevalent today.
The show opens with a selection of folk-art memory jugs—vessels covered with souvenirs from departed loved ones. Alfonso Ossorio’s Spigot (1971) hangs nearby, a delirious concoction of glass eyes, bright plastic fragments, a healing charm and a wooden mallet. Mike Kelley’s Foreground, background (1990)—a three-dimensional needlepoint house set in front of an appliquéed scene of rural life—hilariously juxtaposes high-art terminology with wistful craft objects, while John Outterbridge pays homage to vernacular African-American art with a showstopping accretion of bunched, knotted and dangling pieces of color-splashed canvas. Rounding out the proceedings are Dan Colen’s abstract “paintings” made with silvery studs that punk rockers use to decorate jeans and jackets, and up-and-coming artist Geo Wyeth’s performance props, including a brown satin-covered pillow that emits a low drone when visitors walk by.
Some of the connections between these works—a bricolage aesthetic, with an emphasis on transformation and personal experience—are obvious. Others, like the fact that half of the artists here are or were musicians, are invisible yet felt in ways that would not be possible with less resonant objects.—Anne Doran