Critics’ Picks

Mindy Rose Schwartz, Skull, 2001, cast bronze, lanyard, key rings, keys, 20 x 5 x 2".

Mindy Rose Schwartz, Skull, 2001, cast bronze, lanyard, key rings, keys, 20 x 5 x 2".

New York

Mindy Rose Schwartz and David Rappeneau

Queer Thoughts
373 Broadway #C9
November 7–December 13, 2015

In a scene from David Rappeneau’s series of drawings, “Untitled,” from 2014, a woman’s watch reads 9:66 as she raises her hand and her highlighter-yellow wraparound eyes widen: shit, spilled the stash. If the hour is any indication, linear time has been trashed in these works depicting two sharply featured, pseudofuturistic characters in a druggy chill sesh. Anxious expressions shuttle toward spiky rage and, finally, rapt pleasure. It seems that just a few minutes pass in this particular tableau, as the zooming perspective whips around while the same (laced?) joint is being slowly rolled. In another picture, the watch reads 10:87—enter K-hole. It’s like being run through an anime hallucination via Rashomon (1950).

Mindy Rose Schwartz’s odd and alluring bronze key chain sculptures of alien heads are interspersed with Rappeneau’s drawings. Schwartz’s extraterrestrial tchotchkes are straight out of The X-Files (1993–2002) and Roswell, with a detour through Michaels. She even does a bit of interspecies crossbreeding with her alien farm animals (the imagined offspring of ETs and sundry barnyard creatures). Some of these figures are strung up in elaborate bondage by noose-like lanyards and dangling key rings and keys, such as Skull, 2001. For Schwartz, key chains decorate and individuate the tools that provide access to home, yet some are bereft of keys, sporting only ornamental offshoots, gewgaws. Decoration displaces use value, and the figure of the alien assumes the central role otherwise occupied by the key—providing access to what, we’re not sure.

In both artists’ work, nostalgia for adolescence and the recent past is pulled through a wormhole and deposited into an uncertain future. This erosion of linearity feels like a messy continuum of memory and experience, an unstable ground that is utterly enchanting.