Critics’ Picks

View of “Sex Life,” 2012.

New York

“Sex Life”

167 Rivington Street Lower Level East
November 10 - December 16

Sex magazine began as an online periodical in the fall, but in a few short months it has already come to inhabit a physical host. Or at least that’s one way of considering the exhibition “Sex Life.” Featuring twenty-five artists and one collaborative featured on the magazine’s blog, the show functions as an avatar, offering a much needed opportunity to consider the increasing crossover between online publications and gallery-based exhibitions. Lined up in Tumblr-esque succession, most pieces in the show hug the perimeter of the gallery, which begs the question: Is surveying work on the wall of a gallery basically akin to scrolling through a website? The profusion of modified posters, small-scale paintings, and comic book sketches that scroll along the walls lean toward yes. Jesse Spears brings this logic full circle in The Best of “Notes,” 2012. Scrawled on a ruled sheet of paper amid other non sequiturs, the words TUMBLR STEALING SPREE suggest that whether drywall or digital, a wall is ultimately just a flat surface on which to pin things.

But other artists take up space. Raul de Nieves’s beaded human figure A Bery Bad BB (self), 2010, sprawls on the floor in a cascade of goopy jewels. Across the way, Maggie Lee’s Video Salad TV with Video Salad, 2009, features a video playing on a white Panasonic TV covered in stickers and resting on a plinth. In the video, twentysomethings mime the gestures and ogle the accoutrements of their adolescence. They go to a rave (or is it a foam party?); they browse plaid shirts and Doc Martens; they linger over mood rings and a mask from the hit 1996 movie Scream.

Whether posted on the wall or anchored to the floor, no one is really here to stay. Each artist hyperlinks out of the exhibition and back to the Internet in an intricate tangent of projects and collaborations. Sex (magazine) seems to be everywhere, and everyone is doing it.