Critics’ Picks

View of “Pleh,” 2014.

New York


Shoot The Lobster | New York
138 Eldridge Street
July 13–August 10

In “Pleh,” three very different artists—Gobby, Nick Buffon, Allegra Crowther—take up the onanistic tedium and thrills of obsession and boredom in dispirited urban desolation, a context familiar to New Yorkers resigned to spend long summer weeks in the city. Curator Alexander Shulan, who directs STL—the austere Chinatown satellite of Chelsea's Martos Gallery—presents a witty salon-style hanging of industrious and psychedelic comic-book illustrations and alluringly sloppy sculptural tableaux. The exhibition weirdly reminisces a certain generation of 1990s cable television cartoons—Rocco’s Modern Life or the more adult-oriented Duckman that present often-doomed, neurotic characters as disempowered subjects in a mechanistic, indifferent universe.

The drawings by Gobby (who has a cultish following in experimental music circles), frequently feature Shamus, an alter ego who seems never to have any idea of what’s going on around him. In the latest narrative, which has drifted in style over the past two years into more abstract and fantastical directions, we see Shamus journey to an oozing, allegorical fantasyland where the protagonist discovers his own corporeal desire—or is it decline? Fastidious and awkwardly sensual, these works take inspiration from mainstream Japanese anime, American underground comics, and Internet porn. They are the exhibition’s fast-talkers.

Nick Buffon’s sculptural tableaux, on the other hand, talk slow: they depict unremarkable urban architecture and depressing, messy interiors populated by empty beer cans, weedy and unattended vegetation, and forgettable abstract canvases. His works are abundant with slapdash detail and horny, locker-room humor. Gobby and Buffon have collaborated with set designer Allegra Crowther to create three video works—in the best, a green muppet wakes in some Bed-Stuy–ish apartment and goes about a happy, if humdrum, day: masturbating in bed, using the bathroom, playing music, and finally, partying on a roof—forever alone, of course.