JAY CRITCHLEY “DEEP BONES” AND CHAD PERSON “A HERO NEVER FAILS”reviewed in the New York Times by Ken Johnson, 2011.Freight + Volume is pleased to announce that Jay Critchley, “Deep Bones” and Chad Person, “A Hero Never Fails” is featured in the New York Times today, reviewed by Ken Johnson. The exhibition will be open through September 10th; summer hours are 11 – 6 pm, Tuesday – Friday. For further information, please contact Nick Lawrence or Michelle Lee @ 212-691-7700, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Jay Critchley, Deep Bones, 20111979 MG sports car with wrapped engine and internal component parts, recycled plastic shopping bags, engine lift, mixed media.
Installation; dimensions variable; photo Adam Ryder.
August 18th, 2011
“In art as in life, desperate times call for desperate measures. That may mean mummifying an old car Egyptian style using plastic bags instead of fabric, which Jay Critchley has done as a quasi-magical ritual in the Freight + Volume gallery. He has partly dismantled a ’70s-era MG sports car, carefully wrapped its viscera — seats, engine and other parts — in strands of crumpled plastic and put it back together.
Plastic bags are petroleum based, and cars run on petroleum, a substance that continues to cause no end of worldly havoc. Mr. Critchley’s funereal tableau is not beautiful, but it effectively expresses an exasperation shared by many about modernity’s economic and ecological trajectory.
In a still-timely mockumentary video from 1988, also on view, Mr. Critchley poses as president of a fictional organization called Nuclear Recycling Consultants, whose purpose is in part to convert nuclear plants into residential complexes and historic sites. Resembling a younger, thinner John C. Reilly, he describes his project and performs rituals at nuclear sites with engaging, wide-eyed verve.
In the rear gallery Chad Person offers a complementary solution in the form of folksy signs jig sawed from wood or collaged from pieces of United States currency. They say things like “Resign” and “Accept Less.” A giant inflated representation of the cartoon character Underdog sits irresolutely in the gallery too, while video montages show him performing frantic acts of heroism fueled by energizing vitamin pills. Two Cassandras, Mr. Critchley and Mr. Person, deplore our addictions to oil, drugs and competition. Give them credit for trying.”
- Ken Johnson The New York Times, “Art in Review.”
Archive for September, 2011
Jay Critchley and Chad Person at Freight + Volume
By Robert Shuster, Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The Village Voice
Goofball activism may be, for most, a fleeting phase of youth, but the dogged Jay Critchley has made a career out of donning odd headwear and presiding, preacher-like, over vaguely politicized rituals. Recalling his sand-encrusted cars from 30 years ago, which mocked our oil addiction, the artist has this time mummified a 1979 MG convertible—a process that involved the removal and wrapping of the automobile’s “organs” and the recitation (by Critchley, wearing a leather helmet) of verses from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Elsewhere, in his super-low-budget 1988 video NRC—An Atomic Journey, he plays the president of Nuclear Recycling Consultants, proposing various plans (a mall, a cathedral) for the transformation of abandoned nuclear-power plants, where Critchley actually performs more of his nutty benedictions. As in Allan Kaprow‘s Happenings five decades ago, the lunacy is so earnest it becomes a raw form of art itself.
Not to be outdone, Chad Person has designed a giant, inflatable Underdog—that canine superhero from the 1960s cartoon who always popped an energy pill for strength. Modernized, rebuking Jeff Koons kitsch, the figure slumps next to oversized meds and stares into a smartphone while, before him, a monitor reruns those long-ago rescues of Sweet Polly Purebred. Similar iconic sculptures from Person, like the Big Boy restaurant character, best deliver their satire in photographs taken outside the gallery. It’s surprising, then, that the show does not include one of the artist’s most effective shots—Underdog in a parking lot, absorbed by the phone and oblivious to dense smoke billowing above what appears to be an endangered city.
Freight + Volume, 530 W. 24th, 212-691-7700, freightandvolume.com. Through September 10.