Summer in the city is always a slow period for gallery shows. Like any self-respecting Europhiles, many galleries stop opening on Saturdays and occasionally close all together for parts of August. Many of the big buyers have taken their money and fled the city for cooler pastures and almost all of the big art magazines produce only a single summer issue, so those shows that do go up in July and August often tend to just be group shows of works from the gallery's inventory.
So, for those of us peons stuck here without a Hampton escape, it is always great to hear about an exciting show to liven up the dog days of summer. Accordingly, we have high hopes for the artist Swoon's first solo exhibition at Deitch Projects. Swoon, whose work is influenced by everything from graffiti to German Expressionism to Indonesian shadow puppets, is best known for the carved paper figures she has posted in unlikely spots around Lower Manhattan. Most recently, she also created peep holes throughout the city, through which a viewer could glimpse a hidden fantasy world created by the artist.
For her installation at Deitch Projects, Swoon has created a Byzantine cityscape, handmade from paper and paint. The city, which is meant to evoke the spontaneous and unregulated development of a former Hong Kong slum, is created from reproductions of rooms upon rooms, illegal balconies, scaffolding, power lines, elevated trains, bridges, fire escapes, water towers and street signs, and many other structures of ramshackle urban life. This city is populated by paper cutouts of friends and family of the artists, as well as of people she has seen around New York, interacting with this city as part of their daily lives.
As a whole, Swoon's artfully designed paper landscape is meant to create a conceptual exploration of the development and street life of urban spaces. We'll have to wait until tomorrow to see if this works, but if nothing else it should be a fascinating installation. The show will be on view at Deitch Projects (76 Grand Street) through August 13th. Opening night is July 7 from 6-8. Swoon's work can also be seen in P.S.1's Greater New York show through September 26th.
Photo by Jake Dobkin, who has several more Swoon photos on Flickr