Critics’ Picks

Fin Simonetti and Michael Assiff, Keeper, 2017, refrigerator, stained glass, lock, 29 x 32 x 24".

Fin Simonetti and Michael Assiff, Keeper, 2017, refrigerator, stained glass, lock, 29 x 32 x 24".

San Francisco

“Harvest the crust from your eyes”

/ (slash)
687 Minna Street
January 10–March 8, 2020

Titled after lyrics from a Fugazi song, “Harvest the crust from your eyes” juxtaposes highly personal relics of 1980s California hardcore. Bruce Conner’s photograph of Dead Kennedys’ lead singer, Jello Biafra, lying entangled in a mic cord as fans rip apart his jeans (Biafra, August 13, 1978, 2011) was shot from just above Biafra’s head, lending it an intimate, rather than documentary, quality. Fin Simonetti’s Hearth 7, 2018, a drawing in oxblood-colored ink of a cow desperately in need of milking, recalls back-of-the-class doodling destined for DIY album art. And two photographs from Ian Markell’s 2019– “Notebook” series are seemingly torn from an oversize scrapbook of snapshots and stickers; one features a fraying square of dark green cloth, perhaps a patch awaiting decoration.

Instead of memorializing private histories, a set of sculptures toys with infrastructure, public space, and power. Adam Marnie’s two-sided painting Spy vs Spy, 2020, attached to the gallery wall via plywood scaffolding, is white on one side and black on the other. It abstracts the eponymous comic’s enemy agents as literal counterparts of the same structure: a post-Minimalist joke. Jason Matthew Lee’s destroyed payphone, Sans titre (Tragic Venus), 2017, would fit right into an ’80s scene of urban corrosion—think Repo Man (1984)—but for the smartphone zip-tied to its cords like a protester under arrest.

Markell’s dingy carpeted DJ platform (RISER, 2018), which houses a locked Plexiglas cabinet of photographs, bridges the themes of the other works, referencing a semi-private space with its own distinct culture as well as the secrets a community space can keep safe. Another paradoxically visible but covert sanctuary is Fin Simonetti and Michael Assiff’s Keeper, 2017, a mini refrigerator inset with churchly stained glass and illuminated from within—a cache of numinousness, for those who know where to look.