Critics’ Picks

Josh Kline, Share the Health (Assorted Probiotic Hand Gels), 2012, three dispensers containing live cultures in nutrient gel, each 6 1/4 x 4 1/2 x 4”.

New York

“Deep Space (insides)”

Joe Sheftel Gallery
24A Orchard Street
October 28–December 16

Upon loading Harm van den Dorpel’s website, etherealself.com, visitors are greeted by a notice that it might record them, appropriating the user’s embedded webcam like a ventriloquist would the watchful eye of his dummy. Launched in 2009, the site gathers its consenting viewers’ serial faces in a grid on its back-end site, etherealothers.com, which is displayed on a laptop at the entrance to this group show. Seemingly unaware of the actual moment when their likenesses were taken, the people are pictured staring at the camera’s on-screen feed (out of frame here, of course), which morphs in a psychedelic diamond, self-reflection as engrossing as Narcissus was in water.

“Deep Space (insides)” is a redundant title for this exhibition, but its repetitiveness finds its place within the works. Rochelle Goldberg’s 2012 series “The Bold Look,” for instance, was made using an abandoned photocopier that once belonged to Vito Acconci and was left derelict on the street in front of his New York studio. With it, Goldberg scanned Kohler ads depicting dry hands rising from inky pools, and she layered them behind more copied photographs of hazy childhood baths. The resulting mercurial images displace cohesion in distorting echoes that resemble ripples, washing subliminal messaging with the faded memory of a previous moon.

In another standout work, Josh Kline investigates the sanitation of drug stores in his Share the Health (Assorted Probiotic Hand Gels), 2012, three dispensers that hang casually by the gallery’s exit like hand sanitizer dispensers normally do. Here, though, they grow pink bacterial cultures spawned from swabs taken inside three local chain pharmacies. Interiors, as this show reveals, are ripe with life, even when they’re concerned with physical projection.