Critics’ Picks

Brian Zegeer, The Golden Hour (detail), 2017, archival ink-jet prints on plywood, monitors, mixed media, dimensions variable.

New York

“Near & Dear”

EFA Project Space
323 West 39th Street 2nd Floor
September 15 - October 28

In this group exhibition curated by painter Carrie Moyer, the artist puts her multigenerational community on display, an assortment of makers who share a love of formal kinkiness and ingenuity. Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt presents delicate, ancient-looking works, several of which were created in the 1960s and 1970s: One is a small foil-and-rhinestone ode to a gay physique mag hero (Untitled, ca. 1970s). The artist’s florid materials have taken on a subtle patina with age, yet they manage to retain their camp vitality. In 2016P-17 (Wave), 2016, Anoka Faruqee applies layers of acrylic paint onto her linen-and-panel surface, then rakes through the wet pigment with a trowel, producing oscillating patterns that evoke Op art flushed through a trippy, contemporary spirituality.

Brian Zegeer contributes The Golden Hour, 2017, a looming plywood sculpture that’s part room divider, part children’s fort. TVs with shifting imagery are installed into a decoupage-like skin of ink-jet prints, twine, and sawdust—an enchanting kind of horror vacui. Jennifer Paige Cohen’s small elegant sculptures, made from strikingly patterned clothing found at thrift shops, complement Zegeer’s gargantuan piece, but are strange creatures from a distinctly separate world. For instance, Hydria with Interior Landscape, 2017, is a garish web of blackened rainbow designs on a lumpy exterior. On the inside, the fabric is sullied by the plaster used to mold it and has the appearance of a freshly removed cast.

Moyer has assembled a gathering of great works made from castoffs and kitsch histories by artists who understand that certain forms of trash make for incomparable treasure. “Near & Dear” is sweet, sentimental, and full of love—why should art be anything else?