Critics’ Picks

Trevor Yeung, Night Mushroom Colon (Six), 2018, night-lights, plug adaptors, 6 x 6 x 8".

Trevor Yeung, Night Mushroom Colon (Six), 2018, night-lights, plug adaptors, 6 x 6 x 8".

New York

“Holly Village”

Bodega
167 Rivington Street Lower Level East
September 13–October 20, 2019

This group exhibition, its title a portmanteau of Hollywood and East Village—both places suffocated by fanciful and rabid delusions alike—features a mélange of materials: a lamp, nail decals, night-lights, dish towels, jewels, and a smart speaker from Amazon.com, among other kinds of stuff. Of course, to call these items “stuff” is not an insult, but an acknowledgment that (any) things can be amplified to speak volumes. The late Lutz Bacher, for one, dipped her hands into the intersecting streams of past and present to deliver homely emissaries of the real—a realm that we know is just an amalgamation of stories. One such artifact of her process included here is Angry Bird, 2016, an effigy of the titular video-game character as a polyester sack, covering a helium balloon and sentenced, pathetically, to a corner.

Trevor Yeung’s Night Mushroom Colon (Six), 2018, has multiple plastic ’shroom caps sprouting from plugged in adaptors. It might be best experienced in the dark, but at daytime it still manages to leave appreciable room for the imagination. Across the gallery is Whitney Claflin’s Fax Mish, 2019, its title a scrambled tribute to the nearby Lower East Side watering hole Max Fish. A faux expressionism covers the painting’s stretched support of wool suiting fabric. It is also embellished with carbon-transferred flower drawings filled in with groovy colors; one blossom has the word TIMER scratched into its painted petals. In both shape and color, the beads that dangle from pierced holes in the work’s surface resemble macaroni, punctuating it with a confident sort of errancy. Its handmade quality feels close to home but, as a picture, a tad alienating; like Yeung’s sculpture, it seems to imply that the carefully crafted abode, like any idealized place, can be something suffocating, ill-fitting. Hung on another wall, Jake Levy’s pair of ominously proportioned nurse costumes, with their aggressively oversize shoulders and micro-width waists, might compel the outfits’ intended wearers to flap and wheeze in agreement.