Critics’ Picks

Jason Keeling and Kalup Linzy, Dorothy Dean, The Gilded Grape, April 1977 (detail), 2005.

New York

“Do You Think I'm Disco”

Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos
450 Grand Concourse at 149th Street
January 7–March 18, 2006

With a nod to the ’70s, when disco music stood for the rising influence of gay culture on the mainstream and elicited extreme reactions (such as the infamous 1979 “Disco Demolition” at Chicago’s Comiskey Park), curator Edwin Ramoran has put together a lively if somewhat uneven group show that is as much about endurance and resistance as it is about shiny mirror balls and funky music. The long list of participating artists includes marquee names such as Carrie Moyer, represented here by a painting and Rock the Boat, 2005, a terrific series of posters depicting a disco ball/bomb, and Phil Collins, whose gorgeous series of videos accompanying the music of unsigned bands is alone worth a trip to the Bronx. Rounding out the mix are rising stars such as Kalup Linzy, who poses as Warhol Factory member Dorothy Dean in campy photographs taken by Jayson Keeling; Larissa Bates, whose fantastically twisted and intricate drawings of Hermés scarves captivate despite being unwisely hung too high; and Ivan Monforte, who is facilitating free HIV tests on the weekends. But there are also some compelling surprises: an Australian collective that was big in the ’80s (they used three arrows pointing in different directions as a name) and the weird, fluorescent paintings by Mel Cheren, shown under a black light. Blessed Art Thou ’O Saturday Night, 1994, is a nostalgic catalogue of all the dance clubs that were extant before Giuliani rooted them out. Or tried to, anyway. Disco is dead. Long live disco.