new-york

Jeffrey Vallance

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

Depending on your temperament, or maybe just your mood, it’s possible to have wildly divergent experiences with Jeffrey Vallance’s work. In certain lights, his thirty-year-plus project—here, in his debut at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, taking the form of a collection of “relics and reliquaries”—reads as a gently affirmatory paean to the latent poetry in castoffs and kitsch, a sincere mash-up of pop-culture doodads, dork-cool autobiography, and low-wattage ritual that eludes criticality and expands the range of aesthetic permissibility. Viewed from a slightly darker perspective, however, Vallance has always been precisely about criticality, a confirmed skeptic less interested in praising the myriad wonders of the everyday than in submarining the underlying mechanisms of meaning production on which our cultural belief systems depend. His winking totems—exploded soda bottles, Tiki soap-on-a-rope,

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