Contemporary Art for Better and for Worse // Cutlog NYC

One of our favorite things about living in New York is the opportunity to rush out of our day jobs on a weeknight and head to the galleries.  Sure, the Met or MoMa are a nice way to spend a Saturday, but if you want to know what is now and next in the world of contemporary art, the galleries are where it all happens.  Plus, you get to interact with paintings, sculptures, installations, even performance, for free and often with a complementary glass of white.

This week, the Arcade was invited to the opening of Cutlog, a megagallery installation on the Lower East Side, exhibiting contemporary art from over 50 galleries and 200 artists.  Cutlog took over a two-story event space with photography, painting, installation, and performance pieces.  The work itself was hit-or-miss; some works were brilliantly shocking and fresh while others were derivative and affected.  I guess that’s the nature of contemporary art, and it’s probably also a matter of taste.

We loved Elle, a New York based artist who mixed fashion, screen printing, painting, and video installation for a fresh take on pop-art.  We were pleasantly shocked by Jose Pedro Godoy, whose floral patterns and portraits were stunning and erotic (and hey, we’re a sucker for water sports and cum shots).  The installation “House of Worship” (Jeremiah Johnson), a church made of empty pill bottles and prescription directions topped off with an enema as a steeple, was brilliant if not entirely fresh commentary.  The  Vodoo flags by artist Antoine Oleyant were practically ancient (made in the 1980s) but were arresting as pieces of art and as sites of ritual; the flags perfectly framed Turf Gallery’s contemporary pieces exploring the meaning of the sacred and icons and cult figures in the digital age.

Check out work by these artists and some of our other favorites above.  While you’re clicking, imagine holding some free wine and being surrounded by 200 NYC art-scenesters.  Everyone loves bonding over collective derision and it seemed to us at the Arcade as though people had come to Cutlog primarily to talk shit about what was hanging on the walls.  “I can’t believe they had the balls to even put that up,” and “People are trying to bring back painting but it’s just so boring,” and “God, all of this is just so BUSHWICK,” and “It’s just terribly derivative.”  I can only really speak for myself, and I certainly did not love everything that I saw, but this small town kid still gets geeked about being allowed into a gallery in the first place.  Don’t you?  So come with us inside and let us know both what you loved and what you hated.

- Joseph Osmundson