New York

Kiely Jenkins

Fun Gallery

To approach this gallery after the German show was to move from an attempted sublime to the most deliberately ridiculous. Kiely Jenkins’ deranged dioramas and sick taxidermy are simply a lot of fun. Sure, they have a rather obvious “message” about life in the big city, but the point is made with such obvious relish that it doesn’t seem heavy-handed in the least. Indeed, the pleasure of the work lies in the lightness of the touch that spreads that very obviousness. Jenkins’ trophies take Christy Rupp’s wholesome urban ecologies and sour them with a frat-house humor, a smarty-pants mixture of clichés from comic books and second-rate horror movies. Rupp’s wire and papier-mâché animals (even her rats) always look healthy and well adjusted, but Jenkins’ critters are hysterically maladjusted, cripples and weirdos who inhabit the romantic twilight of late-night bars and 24-hour diners. And the shoddy, dusty dioramas of a deserted cityscape both record that scene and participate in it, looking as they do like the forgotten decor of a forgotten bar.

In an East Village scene even more dominated by pastiche, parody, and repetition than Soho, Jenkins’ dopey absurdities provide an element of relief.

Thomas Lawson