New York

Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt

Holly Solomon Gallery

Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, on the other hand, is consistent in style and materials. Eastern Orthodox is the style, the materials are Reynolds Wrap, Saran Wrap, florist foils, and a variety of low-budget Canal Street extras and leftovers. I overheard Schmidt explaining the secret of his excess, “I operate by the drag queen esthetic: always keep the eye moving.” He succeeds.

Saints and Sinners is painted sky-blue and terra cotta, luminous with icons of foil, floored with linoleum from some abandoned nursery school. Lit by lightbulbs shrouded in colander-fixtures, the room would probably radiate without direct lighting because every surface is reflective. A pink plastic clock in the shape of a cat (with tail as pendulum) presides over the chapel. A float of lollipop-colored plastic ornamentation visited by foil rats is the centerpiece. More like an altercation between pests than an altar, Schmidt’s centerpiece looks like Cinderella’s equine retinue after midnight.

Schmidt’s esthetic is prestidigitation of Minimalism to maximalism, making something out of virtually nothing. His materials are available to everyone, but one would never think of fashioning a religious environment out of such ephemeral stuff. The overwhelming feeling about Schmidt’s overwhelming decor is that his spirituality prescribes that a shrine need not be permanent and forever but makeshift and for now.

Carrie Rickey