Three New Reasons To Visit SculptureCenter

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Last night, SculptureCenter in Long Island City, Queens, opened three distinct exhibitions: the Ruba Katrib-curated “The Eccentrics”; a downstairs survey of sculpture by Rochelle Goldberg, much of it obsessed with the aesthetics of dead fish and the Magic 8-Ball toy; and a small furniture-inflected project by up-and-comer Jessi Reaves. It’s a winning trio that works surprisingly well together.

“The Eccentrics,” a group show loosely organized around early concepts of the circus, contains plenty that veers toward the slapstick and absurd. Sanya Kantarovsky’s suite of lithographs (pictured, in detail, above) were a clear crowd-pleaser, as was Happy Soul, 2015, a lighthearted animation flittering across a wall (on which is hung a painting of a young man, awkwardly cradling his genitals).   In Zhou Tao’s Chicken Speaks to Duck, Pig Speaks to Dog, 2005, we see a group of men perched in trees, captured on green-tinted night-vision cameras as they provide the titular animal noises. Tori Wrånes continues the animal theme, somewhat, with a sculpture, Tennis Cat, 2015; it’s a pair of tracksuit-clad legs, surmounted by a hat and ponytail, and engaged in some kind of breakdance move on a set of bleachers. There’s no actual cat in sight, but the half-figure is wearing white athletic socks courtesy of a brand called Pussy. (Wrånes opened the show with a performance that incorporated her kinetic sculpture, Double Vision, 2016, a pair of motorized, acrobatic rings that continue to swing through the air even when not activated by a human presence.) Another highlight: Adriana Lara’s motorized sculpture of a barely-breathing amphibian which I clearly took to be a commentary on Pete Wells’s epic Senor Frog’s review in the Times. A full schedule of additional performances continue to activate the exhibition, including one by Ieva Misevičiūtė, whose Tongue PhD (Hardcover) is below; keep an eye on the website for further info.

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Downstairs, in SculptureCenter’s renovated-but-still-awesomely-ominous bowels, there’s Rochelle Goldberg’s “The Plastic Thirsty.” Here, the young artist presents sculptures (of archways; locomotive engines; and enormous, dead-or-dying fish) composed of steel, occasionally laced with chia seeds, and other materials (crude oil, fiber optic cables, ceramic). A series of wall-mounted sculptures mimic the format of the beloved children’s toy, the Magic 8-Ball, though the prognosises here are a bit grimmer: “Still choking, try again”; “You will commit a crime.” Overall it’s a cohesive picture of aesthetized rot, a nice counterpoint to the colorful, cartoonish energy in “The Eccentrics.”

And finally, don’t miss the pocket-sized project space upstairs spotlighting new work by Jessi Reaves. It’s a kind of quasi-domestic set-up of various chairs and a shelf, apparently deconstructed from commercial models and then re-hewn with foam and other materials. This is sculpture that isn’t afraid to show its seams, wavering on that thin line between ugly and beautiful; it reminded me of the comic flamboyance of Gaetano Pesce’s experiments with furniture.

—Scott Indrisek (@indrisek)

(Photo: Top, four details from Sanya Kantarovsky’s “Wrong Currency” series of prints, on view in “The Eccentrics.” Below, Ieva Misevičiūtė’s Tongue PhD (Hardcover), 2016. Images by Scott Indrisek. For more images from all exhibitions mentioned here, follow the Blouin Artinfo Instagram account)