“A screen, a bench, a table, a mirror, a vessel, a key, a flower,” artist and curator Michael Childress writes in his intriguingly abstractpress release for “The Small Exceeds,” a thoughtfully sparse exhibit that took place at the appropriately minimal Chinatown hole-in-the-wall, New Release Gallery. These ambiguous motifs are traced throughout the show, compelling expanded consideration. Childress’ immersive installation rejects spectacle, thereby inviting a more careful observation, a refreshing break from a typical in-and-out exhibit. The title, “The Small Exceeds,” is drawn from Hexagram 62 of the I Ching, which commends a “preponderance of the small” and a consideration for detail in the pursuit of mindfulness. Childress along with the eight other artists in the exhibition present work that encourages shared meditation.
Taxidermy, once limited to the realms of hunting and seedy antique stores, has made its way into common art practices. The ethical gray area of cutting open and displaying a dead animal is equally foggy when used for artistic or symbolic purposes, like in the eerily flashy work of Damien Hirst or more recently Anicka Yi’s hardware-lined taxidermy coyote. Contemporary artists using taxidermy as a critique of modern society can be easily construed as insensitive, and can just as easily reinforce the sensationalist culture they’re trying to condemn. New York City based emerging artist Selva Aparicio employed taxidermy with sensitivity and subtlety to honor dead animals and criticize our society’s disregard for them during her one-night pop-up show, curated by Ara Cho, at Space 776.
Held at the McCarren Park Pool, the first Brooklyn Art Book Fair, co-produced by Bruce High Quality Foundation University and Endless Editions, kept to the DIY roots of its featured zine-makers and independent publishing companies. Fair attendees moved past gym-goers and community center regulars into the shallow shoebox of a gymnasium lined with colorful booths. The squeaky-floored gym, hand-written name tags, and visibly excited participants evoked pleasant memories of the annual grade school Scholastic Book Fair. The rejection of a typical or “expected” venue resulted in a refreshing focus on the artists and publishers rather than the event itself.