San Francisco

David Ireland

Leah Levy Gallery

The paradigmatic “artist’s space” is a converted loft—large, white, monolithic. David Ireland’s “House” is different; it is a real house, an 1886 Victorian, the stuff of real estate speculation, transformed into an Arte Povera Frick, a folk art reliquary full of Ireland himself and his neo-Dada objects. The charm of this cult object derives from its mystery, its off-beat whimsy, its immaculate, funky presentation, which is emptied of the ordinariness of daily life.

Situated on a ghetto corner, the house has a battleship gray exterior, an implicit denial of the conventional gingerbread prettiness that defines the multicolored bourgeois Victorian. The grayness is an assertion of armored reticence, camouflage suited to a war zone. The foyer offers the first in a series of paradoxes: it is dark, bare, unfinished and yet highly contrived. Immediately poignant, it remains absolutely impersonal

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