View of “Pieter Schoolwerth,” 2015.

Pieter Schoolwerth

Miguel Abreu Gallery | Orchard Street

View of “Pieter Schoolwerth,” 2015.

Pieter Schoolwerth knows how to paint. In recent years, he turned his hand to no less daunting a task than the subjective reinvention of old-master iconography, which he deftly reconstituted via digital and analog overlays and abstractions—a contemporary remastering, if you will, of the compositional mainstays of Western figuration. Yet for his latest show, Schoolwerth put his considerable skills in the service of a throwaway gag: The press release informed us that while using a cheap, ineffectual vacuum cleaner, the artist blurted out, “This vacuum sucks!” and was so amused by the unintended wordplay, he built an exhibition around it.

Despite its origins in that humble parapraxis, the show, titled “Your Vacuum Blows, which Sucks,” was hugely ambitious in scope and scale, comprising a meandering thirty-nine-minute video (produced in collaboration with Alexandra Lerman and

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