Critics’ Picks

View of “Goldye,” 2011.

View of “Goldye,” 2011.

New York

Glen Fogel

Callicoon Fine Arts
49 Delancey Street
September 7–October 16, 2011

For “Goldye,” his second New York solo exhibition this year, Glen Fogel backed his white 1991 Cadillac Seville into Callicoon Fine Arts’ new storefront space—inaugurating the Lower East Side location with a flourish of logistical heft. Visitors enter through one-way-mirrored doors to encounter the sedan head-on, with just enough room to circle and inspect, à la browsing a dealership lot. “Shit.” “Sh-i-i-i-t.” “Sh-i-i-i-i-t,” Fogel’s prerecorded voice loops plaintively from inside the car while the head, tail, and interior lights flare on and off in ghostly cadence with the verbal tics. The original certificate of sale to the artist’s grandmother (the eponymous Goldye, from whom the car was bequeathed) is hung near the rear right tire.

It is an elegant and funny coda to “With Me . . . You,” Fogel’s earlier show at Participant Inc., in which large-scale video projections of family members’ wedding rings and trompe l’oeil blowups of his adolescent love letters spoke to the continued alienation of queer relationships against our society’s DOMA backdrop. With “Goldye,” Fogel again utilizes personal anecdote and heirloom as narrative framework, rigging the inherited Seville to embody (via his own vocal reenactment) the mysterious coprolalia his grandmother exhibited in the wake of her near-death experience. While arguably sentimental, the installation is hardly inextricable from that originating reference. Parked in the gallery, the anthropomorphic vehicle evokes Pixar’s Cars and a site of suburban home-garage suicide in equal measure.

Cadillac was named in 1902 after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of Detroit. When General Motors filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in 2009, President Obama proclaimed “the beginning of a new GM” that would be “once more a symbol of America’s success.” The spectacle of Fogel’s Seville, out of whack and muttering abjectly, offers sad retort. The work can be purchased for the car’s original price—a transference of luxury that makes a stark pun of the perceived value of art.