Critics’ Picks

View of “Transitional,” 2011.

New York

G.T. Pellizzi

Y Gallery
319 Grand street
September 7–October 16

“Transitional,” G. T. Pellizzi’s elegant solo show, packs a lot into Y Gallery’s compact space. The building blocks of this exhibition stand in a metonymic relation to New York City at large, its explicit subject and muse. Whether in the use it makes of glazed light fixtures and painted bulbs that hark back to loft spaces before the onset of gentrification in the 1980s, or in its stark palette of unalloyed primary colors, evoking artists inspired by the city (from Piet Mondrian to Barnett Newman­­), the show captures the nostalgia to which New York is prone. Most obviously, given that the exhibition coincides with the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, the two flat yellow planes on the floor, on which visitors can tread, recall the footprint of the Twin Towers.

As early as 1960, William S. Burroughs advocated “color walks” as an exercise; all you needed to do was pick out all the reds, say, in the urban landscape and let colors guide you on your way. If you choose to go on a blue walk in Lower Manhattan, you soon become aware of the ubiquitous wooden boards fencing off construction areas. Pellizzi avails himself of the colors and materials of these “transitional geometries,” as he terms them, to create his own solid color planes gesturing toward volumes.

In a playful mise-en-scène, “Transitional” as a whole is presented as building project, complete with its own work permit from the NYC Department of Buildings signed by the artist in the guise of a business contractor. A workaday-blue permit board by the entrance displays neat rows of resignation letters and manifestos, beginnings and endings, rites of passage in keeping with the overarching theme that gives the show its title and binds it together.