New York

Larry Mantello

José Freire Fine Art

As you grow older, Christmas begins to give you the same vague feeling of disappointment that you get the first time you run into your favorite celebrity in the bathroom. There’s no more Santa, holidays aren’t holy, and for anyone who has suffered through some brand of academic Marxism, you can’t even enjoy the yuletide extravaganza of consumerism without feeling like you’re perpetuating class oppression. Blissfully unaffected by all of this, Larry Mantello makes art that never grew up: his sculptural assemblages of mall-style commodities, many of which are thematized according to holidays and vacation spots, convey all the heartfelt exuberance of Christmas in the suburbs before Frosty the Snowman melted.

What does any kid want for Xmas? Not just stuff, but lots of stuff. Excess was Mantello’s modus operandi as he filled the gallery to bursting with sights, sounds, and sometimes smells:

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