New York

McDermott and McGough

Massimo Audiello

Messrs McDermott and McGough’s ongoing art project involves various components: paintings, drawings, archaic haircuts and outfits, one affected accent (McDermott’s), a rustic East Village apartment sans modern conveniences, and a lot of atmospheric rumor and gossip. Taken all together, they form a charming story: two youngish men who live and make art as if this were the 19th century, give or take a few glaring anachronisms like post-Modern irony and acrylic paint. But work whose beauty depends on an ugly art world will always be endangered. Certainly in the process of preparing this review I got an earful of input from other artists, critics, and scene-makers. Gossip shouldn’t matter, but the kind of ethereal fiction these artists propose—and, for all intents and purposes, live—is constructed of hearsay. So, reports that they dodge the inconveniences of cooking on wood-burning stoves by

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