Critics’ Picks

View of “Jim Hodges,” 2016.

View of “Jim Hodges,” 2016.

New York

Jim Hodges

Gladstone Gallery | West 21st St
530 West 21st Street
November 11–December 21, 2016

You enter the gallery, and the sound of a capella singing, without warning, echoes throughout—sweet, jubilant, evanescent. The vocalist, casually dressed like a patron, comes in, faces a wall, and starts doing his thing. The song gently defamiliarizes the exhibition context. This scene is just one element of Jim Hodges’s installation I dreamed a world and called it Love, 2016, a painfully heartfelt proposition against the wretched anxiety of the day. Lining the perimeter of the room is a series of tall polished-glass panels mounted on canvas. Hodges conceptualizes the exhibition as a slippery totality: Even the artist himself doesn’t know when the music is scheduled to happen. There is also no checklist, which pushes us further into an undefined terrain. Hodges does, however, provide a handwritten card with the show’s title. It’s a small gesture, but one that suspends the authority of “information” in the age of endless data and poetically perverts the conventions of Chelsea shows.

The shimmering surfaces of the glass panels are etched with a camouflage pattern—marbleized colors collide into one another, creating a kaleidoscopic spectrum. Within this intricate lattice, reflections crisscross—the camouflage absorbs the viewer into its fluid reflections. This immersive work cuts off reality to make room for fantasy, marvelousness, and indeed love. Hodges’s offering here is not the sum of a clean arithmetic—it is a heady, blossoming thing, as unintelligible and beautiful as a whirlwind romance.