Exploring "Lonely Girl" at Martos Gallery, curator Asher Penn addresses the notions of relevance regarding properart spaces and the online realm. For instance, what is the difference between Amalia Ulman's online body of work, versus the figurative wire-sculptural piece “ 27 Roses, 9 Butterflies, 4 Figures” , honoring us with its physical presence in real space? I wouldn't be asking this question if the seven female artists of the exhibition, which include Maggie Lee and Bunny Rogers, weren't already internet famous.
What Asher Penn really gets at with Lonely Girl is the irrelevance of the notion of a proper space for art. He acknowledges no gap between the physical pieces of the show and the more ephemeral ones existent within the artists’ myriad of blogs, websites, Tumblrs, Instagrams and Facebooks. While Ulman's Facebook iOs album is not for sale, a tangible “work of art” with its rightful aura can be. Here Lonely Girl is calling attention to the commodity.
The show is just is the tip of the iceberg of these women’s endeavors, a wisely curated vitrine of their performative online lifestyle, which showcases their strengths in living the 2013 equivalent of the universal artwork.
At the same time, elements of materiality are to be seen and appreciated — Al Baio’s japanophillic paintings of young girls, each with a drop of blood coming out of their noses, all look like they are made with Adobe Illustrator, but it was only after a close-up look that I noticed the physicality of their flawless brushstroke. The technical precision of these artists is what is truly outstanding in their craft, despite their reputations digitally. Regardless of the taking over of our lives by technology and by the Internet, ultimately people will always want to own things they can touch, taking in culture in real time. But it's worth noting this virtual dichotomy, and whether more Chelsea galleries will recognize its influence.
"Lonely Girl", on now. Exhibtion runs to October 26th, 2013.