“The art world is still a boys’ club,” artist Mollie McKinley told ANIMAL. Before a nude performer bent herself over Z Behl’s giant-horned sculpture and the crowd flooded in, we crashed the instal of this year’s massive Brucennial group show in the Meatpacking Disctrict. Soon, the lines would stretch around the block in the freezing cold and the GoPro we taped to the ceiling would only catch the first hour of the four-hour opening reception, missing the packed tipsy mob it would become. Just like every Brucennial. But a little different. (See video interview above).
The biannual exhibition is organized by the Bruce High Quality Foundation (a much-lauded, subversive, celebrity-circle-infiltrating artist collective) and is historically inclusive (anyone can come hang up their work at set hours). The interchangeable “Bruces,” despite being anonymous (except for their celebrity dealer Vito Schnabel), appear to consist of only men. With the group shifting focus entirely to the free Bruce High Quality Foundation University, this is The Last Brucennial and all of the 600 participating artists are women.
“I understand some feminist complaints that maybe having it all women further marginalizes the female artist,” McKinley considered, ultimately siding with the impetus of the show.
Parsing through shows of such overwhelming proportions is a bit stressing, but despite the stress of inching around without knocking over Daniele Frazier’s Cover The Earth or grazing butt, there was some really enjoyable pieces among the horde. Inside the hair-draped solid transparent pink, the compact monitor part of Lena Imamura’s sculpture whirled and whined. It was glitchy, chaotic and upsetting, but also sleek and stroke-able, an aggressively tangible piece for something so heavily referencing ephemeral technology.
Then there were boobs. And boobs. And more boobs.
There were also tons of vaginas, vulvas, clitoral piercings, paintings of blowjobs and other genitalia of all sorts — even a famous one by Marilyn Minter — which is all fine, because thankfully, I only noticed one piece of the other kind of gendered art — the white-washed-cardboard-egg-crate insufferably-blunt-“symbolism” kind.
This one’s the best of the boobs — Faith Holland’s boobs.gif, a gif collage of asynchronously bouncing sets of boobs from the internet. Boobs.
Anya Liftig — the performance artist I too-hastily ranted at back in 2010 for crashing Marina Abramović’s MoMA staring thing — exhibited video of her great performance The Human Factor. It showed the artist cradling, groping, gutting and finally drinking the ground-up guts of a 14-pound salmon to David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.”
There were also a lot of paintings, as there is, sadly, always a lot of paintings everywhere, but kudos to this minimalist scrappy Kunst (“art”) by Phoebe Morris. Earlier this week at the Armory, someone big had another lofty steel/light “Gesamtkunstwerk” (“total work of art”/”ideal work of art”/”universal artwork”/”synthesis of the arts”/”comprehensive artwork”/”all-embracing art form”/”total artwork”). This one speaks better. Maybe I’m wrong about my blanket aversion to consumer culture-referencing art…
Amelia Bauer’s print is part of a series featuring Pagan spells ingredients. This one is For a Woman to Attract a Man She Desires with apple blossoms, geranium, jasmine, rose, rosemary, vanilla pods and vervain. It’s the subtlest of her Book of Shadows set — which has better with more garishly neon backlighting in clashing disco colors. Hey. Woo. Occult tableaux.
This is Antonia Marsh’s prominently plopped piece. Duchamp, something something. Something, toilet.
The show is open through April 4th. (Photos: Marina Galperina and Rhett Jones/ANIMALNewYork; Video: Marina Galperina and Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork; Lead image artwork by Parker Shipp)