“Everybody! Come Stand on the Altar!”

PSSST
1329 E. 3rd St.
June 24, 2016–July 31, 2016

View of “EVERYBODY! COME STAND ON THE ALTAR!,” 2016. From left: Deana Lawson, Altar, 2010; Anna Betbeze, Fugitive, 2016.

Theatrical lights shine and move throughout the room during Keaton Macon’s audio piece Overlay, 2016, which is interrupted by another work—this one made of darkness and five channels of a haunting voice, by Dorian Wood. The lights play over a collection of objects and writing, to make a performance, a stage, an altar, an art show. Running in a thirty-minute cycle, the lighting shifts off to give seven minutes of drama to Jesse Fleming’s The Snail and the Razor, 2012, a thrilling video of a snail very slowly crawling over the edge of a razor, sound tracked with a sensational drumbeat. K.r.m. Mooney’s Circadian Tackle IV, 2016, collects boiled-steel cable, a canine whistle, cast-silver orange peel and lavender, silver solder, and liver of sulfur, among other things, composing an alchemical offering under a spotlight on the hardwood floors. Stacked nearby, Litia Perta’s text piece Song for a Rite Parade, 2016, reads like the invocation of a ceremony.

Barb Smith’s elaborate collection installed on a large, low pedestal, comprising items such as a broken headstone and a chunk of glass from Kokomo, Indiana—exhaustively titled after all the objects it incorporates—makes for another set of strange offerings. Near it, Deana Lawson’s photograph of the real thing, Altar, 2010, shows it piled and draped surrounding a statuette of the Virgin Mary. This is the first exhibition for the new nonprofit center, and the accompanying essay written by its founders, Jules Gimbrone and Barnett Cohen, relays the ethos of the organization and this dynamic display: “Decentralized sacred space can emerge. There is a stage. There is no stage. The stage is always changing.”

Andrew Berardini