I started my day on 27th St. and worked down, so Zwirner was at the end of seeing lots of art. When I walked in the door, I felt like numerous reviewers who have expounded on the state of Chelsea: it’s over. Large, bloated galleries, showing increasingly conservative and established artists, where the cost of real estate isn’t killing the neighborhood, sheer boredom is. Then wham, into Diana Thater’s installation, which casts the entire gallery in a dim, but radiant blue light. The first blue gallery featured two stunning, realistically detailed videos of the galaxy. In a panic, it hit me that there must be all kinds of open-source images of space that I should spend more time looking at.
The main room felt like the VIP lounge of a chic nightclub or every other shot in the Hype Williams masterpiece Belly. In the center of the main, dark blue-lit room is a large, white-cube structure with cut-away trim emanating pink fluorescent light. A video shooting out of it onto the ceiling shows beetles frolicking in a patch of leaves. Sure, there is something very showy about the installation, like a pop culture version of James Turrell, but after a day of mostly dry and expected art, it was a much-needed shock to the system.
PS From what I gleaned from the Times review, beetles apparently navigate by the stars, and when urban light blocks the stars, they wander aimlessly.
Through Feb. 21st