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The space monkey that ate Maria

A couple of shows I enjoyed today that are worth a First Friday visit if you haven’t seen them yet are manga mouseketeer- inspired Dalek and Swiss import Criss Cross. Add them to Roberta’s First Friday choices (see post) and you’ll have more than enough good stuff to see (image right, “Untitled” by Dalek, acrylic paint on wood, 30 x 30 inches).
New York artist Dalek, in “Buried Hatchets” at 222gallery borrows the superflat look and Mickey Mouse ears of Takashi Murakami’s Mr. DOB, creating edgy “Space Monkeys” with rapacious grins. This particular series is full of stylish but wonderful ceruleans, pistachios and pinks, plus machinery that looks like old-fashioned turntable parts– needles or cartridges and arms and counterweights. The monkey nose morphs into records or CDs that bounce around.
Most of the work is acrylic paint on wood, but there are some on old LP covers and corrugated boxes (left, a painting on an LP cover of West Side Story, with Space Monkeys chewing off Maria’s and Tony’s heads).

Plus there’s product, manufactured by local entrepreneur Larry Mangel at Cerealart. We’ve got your mass-produced Dalek Space Monkey figures, Space Monkey shower curtains (in cerulian or pistachio), and space monkey skateboard decks. This art, which is particularly well suited to the commercial end of things, still charms and amuses. It will remain up until July 29.

On the more serious side, at Pentimenti, five Swiss artists with abstract and minimal strategies serve as a reminder that East is West and West is East and art is global, these days, just like the economy. I particularly liked Judith Trepp’s Asian and Japanese-inspired drawings. The most basic lines in pressing proximity become sexy promises of contact (right, an untitled Trepp of ink and egg tempera on Indian paper).
eitle-vozar, maria
I also went for Maria Eitle-Vozar’s porcelain houses of cards, which seemed fragile and off kilter, ready to collapse at a breath. Some of the cards have holes in them suggesting windows and leaky roofs or worn-out floors. But all of them suggest how vulnerable we are, for we are the cards and the cards are us (left, “Cardhouses Villages II,” 12 x 9 x 4 inches, mixed media, porcelain).

Others in the Swiss contingent of the show are Karina Wisniewska, Susanne Keller and Vera Rothamel.

In the back spaces at Pentimenti are the regular Pentimenti artists–Franco Muller, Kevin Finklea, Steven Baris, Kathryn Frund and Richard Bottwin–whose work is showing simultaneously at Ute Barth Gallery in Switzerland, part of the trade between the two galleries. Some new Baris and Muller pieces went up today to replace sold paintings.

The show has another week before the gallery closes for summer vacation.