Peeking Inside “Die Wunderkammer,” the Inaugural Exhibition at The Lodge

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Last night curators Keith Schweitzer and Jason Patrick Voegele inaugurated their new gallery project, The Lodge, in the Chrystie Street space formerly occupied by envoy enterprise, with an exhibition they co-curated titled “Die Wunderkammer; Objects of Virtue” (through May 1). The exhibition’s Lynchian selection — like Kate Clark‘s bedazzled taxidermy sculpture “Rivalry” (2013, above) and Mac Premo‘s interactive wood-drilling installation “Totally Stick Your Head in This Hole” (2010) — paired with the back-room speakeasy-style bar made for an appropriately creepy, theatrical evening.

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Inspired by the concept of Enlightenment-era cabinets of curiosities in which aristocrats displayed their collections of scientific, fantastic, and aesthetic oddities acquired from exotic locales far and wide, the exhibition features more than its share of skull art, none so creepy as Sigrid Sarda‘s “Memento Mori” (2013, above). Russell Tyrone Jones, aka Ol’ Dirty Bastard, aka Dirt McGirt, aka Big Baby Jesus (RIP), is also in attendance, in the form of Hayley McCulloch‘s “ODB- 1953″ (2013, below).

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One of the 17-artist show’s stand-outs, and most inventive take on our current fascination with the concept of the wunderkammer, is Christy Rupp‘s series of faux-ivory tusk and teeth sculptures, which she makes with wax and then adorns with the scientific formula for various elements (below), like a full-scale narwal tusk featuring the symbols for chains of hydrocarbon.

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In addition to imitation organic objects like ivory, skulls, and taxidermy, the exhibition features its a few unusual takes on traditional sculpture, from a seemingly conventional statue of the Virgin Mary by Lucia Pedi, “Madonna,” with eerie incisions in her tightly shut eyes, and the darkly satirical, three-dimensional infographic “Phrenology Bust” by Melora Kuhn (below).

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Another unconventional take on traditional statuary, Pop Mortem‘s “Pieta” (below), reduced an art historical motif to a mound of bright, dripping, and sagging colors.

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As for the concept behind The Lodge, Schweitzer explained it as the physical manifestation of his and Voegele’s roving curatorial practice, Republic Worldwide. “Whenever we put on an exhibition,” Schweitzer told ARTINFO, “it’ll be at The Lodge.”

Die Wunderkammer; Objects of Virtue,” continues at The Lodge through May 1.

— Benjamin Sutton

(All photos by the author.)