Office Drawer Turned Daring New Art Showcase
By Carolee Klimchock
You’d be better off dead than to miss the
tour de force that is Drawer@676’s “I Hate My Job” exhibit.
This stunning array of shapes and forms teases the viewer. It says Come
close, but not too close. It says Will
you have the fish or will you have the chicken? It says Daddy
wants a little sugar.
Housed in what can only be described as an office drawer, Drawer@676 bolts onto
the gallery scene in its boxiness, its matte-blackness, and its whimsical
ability to roll out and roll back in, like a flight of fancy. It is the
utter definition of rectangle. It offers a breath of freshly stale office
air into the mixed-up mélange of gallery haute and artworld pretension. Drawer@676
brings a splash of certitude to woefully uncertain times.
The little-known artists represented in the show are sure to be in high demand,
at least several weeks before hell freezes over.
Krieger’s shock-jock meat market simulacra dynamically bursts from the ground,
seemingly reaching for the sky like a Coney Island wino with the sun in his
eyes. Two isolated eyeballs encased in plastic linger among the meat, as
perhaps a wry commentary on disconnection, disaffection and the dystopia of the
work world. The artist, flush with cash after a decade as a highly paid
knife-thrower’s assistant, took the job at 676 “for shits and giggles,” a
move she now calls “a big mistake” while others, for reasons unknown, call
it “the big Lebowski.” Nice work if you can get it, Krieger.
Barolo’s timely and provocative shredded-up grant rejection letters hang like
a hunka burnin’ love in the front corner of the drawer. On loan from the
permanent collection of the New Brunswick Museum of Women’s Art and Craft,
Barolo’s work maintains its striking, somber poise with the aid of a size
large binder clip, on sale now through April at Viking Office Supply. Barolo
stumbled upon his coveted position at 676 by literally stepping in a pile of
shit. “I was wiping dog you-know-what off my shoe when Margaret Labbert
walked by and offered me a job,” Barolo said, sotto voce.
The performative crown of thorns by former death row inmate Levinsky is sine
qua non. Its cylindricality speaks to the quid
pro quo circularity of humdrum office chatter. “I was gonna
wear the thing to the opening,” Levinsky volunteered, “But then I was like,
‘Fuck it.’” As the Latins would say: Res
ipsa loquitur. Multiple, repetitive, bold red stamps of “Not
Authentic” underscore the socio-cultural tensions between authentic/not
authentic, real/unreal, inside/outside, this/that/the other,
such-and-such/so-and-so, whatup/not much.
Ream’s cleverly juxtaposed images sit on sparse terrain, a punch in the gut
for the soul, if you will. The works in her triptych are simultaneously
light and pungent, like the watered down bitterness of Hahn’s cornerstore
coffee. The central work, an obfuscation of the phrase “work ethic”
slaps the viewer in the mug with “WO’ ‘THIC”, a phrase sure to be the
rage among South Bronx youth by June. Don’t be surprised if standing
striking and sultry trio sends shivers up your spine or causes a treatable but
potentially deadly skin condition called Steven-Johnson Syndrome. The
central images of the two flanked pieces are much like the artist herself:
woolly and mammalian.
Quizzical, sundry, naked, this bouquet of work speaks to the scared little girl
in all of us.
The philosophical landscape of “I Hate My Job” hits at myriad potent queries
such as-- what is “hate”, what is “job”? In this postmodern
centrifuge, who can really say? Seriously, who? Who?!
Sordid tales, checkered pasts and dreadful employment opportunities make
“IHMJ” a hoot and a holler for the entire dysfunctional family. And
that includes you, Grandma Phyllis and “Uncle” Biffy. Interfacing with
these works will surely either make you “wanna throw your hands in the air
like you just don’t care” or do “The Butt.”
In the words of Jacques Derrida: “The intelligible face of the sign remains
turned toward the word and the face of God,” and if there is one show this
season that brings us closest to the face of that rat bastard some of you know
as God the Almighty Maker of Heaven and Earth, it is, without a doubt, “I Hate
On view now through April 31, by appointment only.
Carolee spent 18 years in Texas trying to
assess the nutritional value of hogwash, four years at Smith College weighing
the merits of a .8 inch margin vs. a 1 inch margin, and six of the last seven
years in a self-inflicted prison of the mind. She currently resides at the top
of her game. Buttloads of spam can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org. (Please
put “delete this immediately” in the subject heading.) Stalkers
can find her at: