Christopher K. Ho in The New York Times
Of course, I'm sucking in my stomach.... Who wouldn't? In fact two separate people at the opening, who could also tell I was sucking in my stomach, explained that I was doing it wrong. I need this? Still, we're beyond delighted today.
Many thanks to Mr. Johnson (who we are so very happy to have back in New York, I must say) for the insightful response to the show. Here's the review:
CHRISTOPHER K. HO
637 West 27th Street, Chelsea
Through Feb. 9
As you enter through the glass front door you glimpse a naked man lurking behind the big square column that sits in the center of the dimly lighted gallery. Inside, the gallery has been painted entirely gray and is empty but for that life-size sculpture of a muscular nude man, also painted gray, who stands facing the column as though frozen in an episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
The statue is a portrait of the gallery’s proprietor, Edward Winkleman. The 6-foot-1-inch painted polyurethane sculpture is realistic yet simplified, its details smoothed over as though it had been sandblasted. The exhibition’s title, “Happy Birthday,” spelled out on one wall in vinyl black letters, alludes in part to Mr. Winkleman’s being in his birthday suit. A red spot just below the title is like the red dot customarily used by galleries to designate a sold work.
The effect of all this is funny, creepy and mysterious. The image of a dealer — who in reality wields considerable power over an artist — stripped bare and turned to blindly face the blank expanse of the column produces a weirdly Oedipal effect.
Mr. Ho is a conceptualist who uses art in many different forms to critique the art system. His aims are detailed in a tediously academic exhibition catalog, which is supposed to be a discrete artwork in its own right. In the Magritte-like gallery installation, Mr. Ho’s garden-variety neo-Marxist conceptualism comes surprisingly to life. KEN JOHNSON