Now I said as much nice stuff about Adam Parker Smith as I feel comfortable with over his show earlier this year at Store Front, but God damn, this is good. If you missed all the to-do, it’s a group show of works by friends of Adam Parker Smith that he stole from them during studio visits over the previous year. Being its 88 pieces, all on a scale that you can fit into a bag, it’s hard not see the show as just a large conceptual art piece by Smith other the artists as passive collaborators. But it’s still a show of a who’s who of the Bushwick art scene, Matthew Mahler, Gary Peterson, Lauren Portada, Michael Scoggins, Colette Robbins, Amy Lincoln, Scott Teplin, and Andrea Bergart, all stolen for the show, rad. My only issue with the whole thing is that no one who had work stolen seems to have put up much of a stink. You’d think there’d at least be a complaint or two about feeling violated or how it compromised the intent of the work or even how they spent the last year scouring their studio for a piece for a group show. But silence. All the articles have been, “Oh shucks. That’s cool, Adam Parker Smith being Adam Parker Smith,” the show rankling no feathers seems to take some the edge off, of what on paper seemed pretty ballsy. When I went back to the show, there was a gallery worker hovering over the show pretty closely. I do like the idea that people might try to steal their work back. And to blatantly rip off Tom Marquet’s premise, this leaves Adam Parker Smith with very little room for a follow-up, short of him stealing his friends’ identities and ruining their credit ratings, which again I am not against. It would make a hell of a group show for next summer, titled Like Me Now?
As a piece on its own, the show does highlight the process of curating, which starts with an artist whose work you like and who is willing to give you access and then finding work that you can get that fits your idea, or in the case of Adam Parker Smith, his bag / overcoat. I also imagine a lot of these studio visits ending with the artist going to the bathroom and being weirded out that Smith had left without saying goodbye. And for work he could steal, there are some prime pieces like Mike Olin’s vandalized baseball cards, Brent Birnbaum’s limited edition Gagosian hats, which even at $100 a pop I still considered buying, and two excellent Deborah Brown pieces, that for her work is just the right amount of abstract. But the highlight for me was Alex Gingrow’s sketchbook / Rosetta stone of possible quotes to make work from. So to Adam Parker Smith, hurrah! I look forward to more work so I can write more critically and come off as the feigning sycophant for his work.