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|Best thing I saw or learned
Matthew Cusik creates images that initially look drawn or painted, but close up reveal that they’re collaged from meticulously cut up pictures, in the case of “Three Horses,” atlases. It was like seeing all the oceans of the world in a single wave.
Despite the “gallery” in its name, Dorsky doesn’t sell art. Rather it is “dedicated to promoting contemporary visual arts to a broad public audience.” It holds three to four thematic exhibitions a year, for edification not commerce. The gallery doesn’t have a permanent curator; rather it invites “curators, writers, and art historians” to submit proposals for shows to fill the gallery. It also serves as an art exhibition space for several local colleges not blessed with their own on-campus art museums.
Dorsky’s building is modern, nondescript, and nearly windowless. It could house a small self-storage space, techie startup coworking space, or a secret government lab as easily as it could a setting for art. The interior is sleek and contemporary, which in New York gallery terms means high ceilings, column-less interiors, and concrete rather than wood floors. Actually, there are 2 art spaces at Dorsky and they split the difference, floor-wise.
The show I saw at Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs has one of the cleverest, simplest titles of all the art installations I’ve seen for this project. “Wake” is about water. Paraphrasing the guy minding the gallery when I visited, it’s about where water used to be and is no longer, and where it wasn’t before but increasingly is now, and will be into the future.
And yet it wasn’t all a climate change doom-and-gloom-fest. Though there was quite a bit of that. A fair amount of the exhibit just celebrated water and the life it contains, with a combination of abstract and representational work, and paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, and even some art books.
Naoe Suzuki, for example, examines inland waterways, depicting just the water, no labels, no forests, no towns or roads, in large format with blue watercolor on tea-stained paper. They could be abstractions, pictures of anything, but at the same time, they couldn’t be pictures of anything else. I liked them, along with most of the rest of the work on display.
Should You Visit Dorsky Gallery?
Dorsky is pretty small, and may not always justify even the quick-and-easy trip from Manhattan to Long Island City. I was the only visitor when I went on on a dreary weekend day; the guy minding the place cheerfully turned on the lights for me. He seemed happy to have a visitor, and to discuss the art and artists, and the place with me.
Dorsky’s curatorial approach is really interesting, and if “Wake” typifies what it puts on, I’m glad that it’s now on my cultural radar. If you’re at all interested in contemporary art, I recommend a visit. And if you’re going to PS1 anyway, it’s a simple matter to add a half hour before or after to check out this small, interesting venue.
|11-03 45th Avenue, Long Island City, Queens
|General Admission: Free
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