Critics’ Picks

Bradley Kronz, Rules of Attraction in Dutch #1, 2013, collapsed metal storage cube, place mats, tv phosphor screen, hook, wire, tape, marker and pencil on paper, 15 x 19 x 3".

New York

Bradley Kronz

Essex Street
55 Hester Street
May 23 - July 21

In Bradley Kronz’s New York solo debut, a group of six works crowd together on one wall of the gallery like guests who arrived early at a house party. The remaining walls are blank, with only two other works on the floor. Somewhere between drawing and sculpture, these pieces become increasingly complex with prolonged engagement. One of the wall-bound works is a marker drawing of a stripped Jeep logo that was based on a photograph of a car the artist’s father was repainting. Kronz has reduced the image to a few swift lines, leaving marks of where the Jeep logo would go, a placeholder waiting to be filled.

What moves this work into the sculptural realm is its frame, which was handmade by the artist out of card stock not much thicker than the drawing it protects. Even the highest-resolution image can’t quite convey how delicately the drawing hangs from the wall in its cardboard coffin, ready to blow away with a gust of wind. Also in this neat line of works is Moms 280C, 2013, which includes two photographs of a vintage Mercedes-Benz pinned to card stock, scored as if ready to be folded into a frame. The work invites a kind of imagined assembly on part of the viewer, not unlike a photograph or video animating a personal memory. A neighboring piece depicts a wax cylinder, evoking the tools of early audio recordings.

In this way, Kronz makes works about technologies that help us to remember—emphasizing the determining influence framing has over memory. In two additional works, he references Bret Easton Ellis’s 1987 novel The Rules of Attraction but renders the title in Dutch—a sly substitution that seems to suggest (however abstractly) that popular culture is in need of framing to be understood as popularity is contingent on mass distribution, electronic media, the printing press, and reproducibility among other things. Without such technical amplification, a mass audience is not possible. Kronz makes ample reference to these channels: a VHS tape of a black metal band, the Attractions reference, the wax cylinder, the printing press, and, of course, photography. One of the Attraction works includes the cover of the book framed by a phosphor television screen—it’s chassis morphing it into another medium.