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Sunday, September 19, 2004

A Couple Williamsburg Picks

I had big plans yesterday to complete a run through Williamsburg and then shoot back to Manhattan's west side on the L train to pick up the fall Chelsea shows that opened this week. The remnants of Hurricane Ivan (and my unwillingness to carry an umbrella) cut my trip short, though. I didn't make it to Chelsea, but I did see two shows of note in Williamburg.

No Return at Momenta Art is a smartly curated small group show that is, according to the gallery brochure, "evocative of an unseen world--a world of capital exchange, of currency, information, and waste." I was especially fascinated with Pawel Wojtasik's video Dark Sun Squeeze which presents closely cropped vignettes from a day in the life of a sewage treatment plant. Jed Ela's baskets weaved from dollar bills (see detail at right) also intrigued me. Ela is selling these works for the cost of the materials--the number of bills it took to create the basket--with the agreement that the purchaser never resell them for more.

Dewitt Godfrey's Picker Sculpture at Black & White Gallery is a knockout. I had seen a photo of the installation earlier last week, but the photo did not prepare me at all for the experience of standing in the presence of these two works--one installed in the gallery, the other in the gallery's outdoor space. The director told me that the opening was the quietest one she has ever held. In the presence of the pieces, no one was talking. I'll save the blather and won't heap on adjectives and adverbs in an attempt to describe the pieces and the experience of standing near them and walking through them. But if you get the chance, make a point of seeing this show before it closes on October 18. (The work in the gallery's outdoor space will remain up until November 29.) If you do, you may be stunned into silence too.

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