Welcome to the Free Show
Lay in Wait: Resolutions
Categories: Art Show, Gallery

I’m not a huge fan of art shows. I love art, and I know what I like, but I don’t like pretension and art galleries are full of it. So when I went to go see a new but dear friend’s work at “Lay in Wait: Resolutions” in Brooklyn, I was less than excited.

The plan was to spend as little time there as possible, while still paying respect to my friend, who is very talented. Her name is Julianna Zarzycki and her work has been featured in films, theatres, and galleries across the country. She is an artist, an actress, and very crafty. (She also teaches Pilates.) Her work was a collection of unfinished pieces that she had artistically moved on from. She had no realistic intention of finishing these works just for the sake of it, and so invited the patrons to sit down in the back corner of the South Oxford Space (a performance art venue located in the old Visiting Nurse Association building in Fort Greene) and to complete the art in any way they felt inspired – including collage. There was zero pretension in her scheme; Julianna was really thrilled to see something become of her little darlings, as if they had left the nest and flown on their own.

However, the night was not all skilled drawings, magazine clippings, paste, and crayons. The group consisted of former classmates from Julie’s Emerson days. While some created legitimate art, I left with the feeling that some of them just wanted to be a part of the show and created pieces out of nowhere. This is where the typical Williamsburg/Bushwick pretentious art comes in. I’ve never been a fan and I don’t always know when they are being ironic or truly believe what they are doing is profound. This is in fact exactly how I feel about the group Wunderkrafthaus, who are incredibly talented artists whom I produced a television pilot based on their alter-egos.

Upon first entry, my date and I were almost immediately separated. Sarah was directed to three laptops over on the right side of the room, while I was strongly encouraged (read strong-armed) into heading towards the baby grand piano in the center of the room. As I sat down, Henry Hoke sat next to me, and guided my finger on the keys, plunking out a tune I did not recognize. Then he brought me over to the floor-to-ceiling windows, behind the curtains and read me the tale of how he killed his baby brother for being better at playing the piano than he was. While I am an interactive, environmental performer myself, I did not appreciate the audience-by-hostage means by which it occurred.

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Once I escaped, tearing up his script into confetti and throwing it on the floor – it wasn’t rude, it was art – I headed over to Sarah and sat down on the floor of a slightly elevated stage. She shared her headphones with me as I joined in on viewing a short film by Jonathan Ade. The movie seemed very well shot, but still felt as though it was a school project from an inexperienced filmmaker. The plot was familiar, perhaps borrowed from the Corey and Corey movie “Dream a Little Dream”. I wasn’t particularly invested as i was uncomfortable trying to watch on the 15-inch screen. I didn’t attempt to watch the other two movies he was screening.

Another corner played host to a fortune teller who brought with her every article of clothing she owned. While tempted to do something obnoxious to point out the absurdity of this incredibly popular event, I refrained from wearing her panties on my face. If I am to denounce the general douchebaggery of these events, I cannot myself be an asshole. I donned what could pass for a Hawaiian shirt were it not black with skulls-and-crossbones and waited about 45 minutes to meet Claire Epstein. There she observed my clothing choice, asked my name, and began to write me a hand-written letter which she put in an envelope marked 2013.

Dear Steven,

Decisive. You know it only takes one strong choice to make a difference in a charged moment of truth. Boldness will sock your feet and comb your hair! Walk strong and sometimes slow. Clock time is as reliable as light and dark. Good luck with your new neighbors! They will have something to teach you. Be open to new sounds.

Love abundant,

Claire

Fortune cookies have had more depth, though adding “in bed” to being open to new sounds gives me encouragement for my future endeavors.

Next I observed patrons typing on a typewriter -graciously supplied by my date Sarah, who had no idea what it was going to be used for. Books of no particular note to me were stacked next to it and I saw no further instruction. This was to me the most blatant masquerade of art – “I’ll just put books next to a typewriter and see what people do and that will be my contribution. That is what art is to me.” I don’t know if this was actually the case, but that’s what it felt like. At least Claire wrote something. And least Henry performed. I don’t even know who put together the typing bit.

Sarah and I just two nights earlier had watched the documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop” about Bansky and Mr. Brainwash. We debated and discussed for quite sometime after about what art is. Sarah is of the opinion art needs talent, skill, and training whereas I feel art is a creation from expression. We came to the conclusion that they need not be mutually exclusive but that Sarah’s definition was high-art and that Banksy is an artist and Brainwash was not. I feel they both were, and am left wondering if some of those presenting at Resolutions weren’t just the universe throwing my own words back at me.

Most in attendance clearly enjoyed themselves and really allowed themselves into the adventure and spirit of the works and the artists. Perhaps I just came in with a chip on my shoulder, maybe I have higher standards and bigger expectations. I am very proud of the work Julianna did, not just as my friend but for her insistence that her art not die as a half forgotten work on some shelf. I think that Jonathan Ade has a strong skill set as a filmmaker and look forward to seeing future projects full of risk and experimenting with technique. I hope Claire washed all her clothes we all wore them. Mostly, I lay in wait for artists to stop demanding we accept anything as art because they say so, and allow the rest of the world to have make up their own minds without pretentious backlash.

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