Who loves you, baby?
For those who might care at all: I've been away on leave for the better part of three months (missed that thing you call "winter" this year; how was it, anyway?) so I've got a lot of catching up to do. Some great and wonderful openings have already gone by the boards for me, but art, like newspapers, is always about tomorrow, isn't it? The difference being, of course, that art's yesterdays count, and newspapers ... not so much.
Anyway, not to digress: One of the things I almost missed, but not quite, is the suitably austere installation at the tiny Paul Petro Special Projects Space on Queen. One of the best art spaces in town -- of any size, to my mind -- Special Projects has on display a series of generic "I (heart) NY" t-shirts" lovingly unique-ized by New York artist Rainer Ganahl. Ganahl has festooned his shirts with several of the far-too-many jargonistic phrases that attend that city's current doom (like "Foreclosure," at right; others include "Collateralized Debt," "Securitization," and "Credit Crunch.").
As a form, a generic t-shirt seems fitting garb for these troubling times -- particularly when emblazoned with the high-falutin' financial lingo that tumbles so freely out of the mouths of suits. And Ganahl seems to have a soft spot for twisting this particular knife; at the Armoury shows in New York earlier this month, Ganahl and a small crew toured New York in a stretch-limo SUV, reading aloud from Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto.
But what Ganahl has concocted, really, works beautifully as a simple one liner: Like a lot of love, to love NY, the heart of the financial universe, in all its unrepentant excess, is to love unconditionally. My favourite: I (heart) NY, emblazoned with "Lehman Brothers" in dirty electric-lime script. Well, at least somebody does.