New York

Andrea Loefke

PH Gallery

An adept young bricoleur with a light touch and a flair for playroom fantasy, Andrea Loefke made her first New York solo show a candy-colored zone of purposefully preadolescent ebullience. Her modest set-piece arrangements—featuring tiny barnyard animals emitting speech bubble baas and brays; small groves of flora made from string, wire, plastic sheeting and pipe-cleaners; nursery-school wallpaper; and puffy white clouds more suggestive of cotton candy than cumulonimbus—were temperamentally sweet enough to set the average visitor’s teeth on edge. Even the show’s preposterously saccharine title, “When the green frog changed into a happy prince the nearby well—splish, splash—turned into sweetened lemonade,” seemed strategically calculated to raise viewers’ blood sugar to dangerously high levels.

In a contemporary art world where optimistic earnestness remains the kiss of death, this show’s

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