Sunday, March 10, 2013

Francis Alys, Reel-Unreel @ David Zwirner

I make fun of David Zwirner all the time, because they’re a giant impersonal gallery, but when push comes to shove, they do good things. Philip Lorca-diCorcia, Christopher Williams, Stan Douglas, Marcel Dzama, James Welling, all are awesome artists represented by Zwirner, who has been able to put their work on a high platform and get it out into the world while maintaining a roster a hell of a lot better than Gagosian has. In the coming days when it’s just Gagosian and Zwirner fighting over all the art, I am throwing my hat in with Zwirner. If you, Zwirner, are willing to have me, I am will stand by your side in the coming Chelseapocalypse where rents are so high only two can remain. I feel in some small way my snarky, dismissive writing style can be put to use against the forces of Gagosian.

Oh, and Reel-Unreel was great. In true Zwirner bling style, they had wheat-pasted the neighborhood in ads for it (also to mark that south of 23rd Zwirner territory), as well as having very nice free posters at the desk. But again I get side tracked. The video was fantastic. It features a group of small children running through the streets of Kabul while unrolling a reel of film, which I am assuming has some kind of metaphoric possibilities. But Kabul is a place with such a complicated relationship to media to say the least. I like to believe that in neighborhoods where religious conservatism is again running rampant, in a post war Afghanistan where movie theaters have again been shut down, where kids will discover film as refuge and as a way to entertain themselves. The video also gives the viewer a pretty personal, street level experience of a country almost always seen through news reports or from the point of view of a military convoy. Pretty great stuff. I can’t remember the last time I was this surprised or moved by work at Gagosian. Go, team Zwirner.

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