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Energy to Burn

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Christian Holstad's installation at X Initiative.  

No one seems to know what will happen to the space next spring, but thanks to gallerist Elizabeth Dee and project overseers Cecilia Alemani and Jenny Moore, for the next twelve months you can check your Govan-hate at the door and visit X Initiative for free. The organizers had only two months to assemble the project, so kudos are due despite the fact that the first round of shows is a bit dry (and too close to Dee’s exhibition program: She has shown two of the three artists). Three floors of exhibition space are given over to early Super 8 films by director Derek Jarman. It’s great to immerse oneself in Jarman’s sexy sensibility; you’ll see exotic dancers and naked boys with cute seventies bushy hair. But given how many other things could be going on here, three floors of Jarman is two too many. On the ground floor, Mika Tajima’s prints on wheels and mirrored pallets are a fair combination of order and confusion, but the whole thing is too hygienic and knowing. On the roof, there’s a generic but nevertheless crazy installation by Christian Holstad that features a colonic machine, a working tanning booth, and what look like gold-plated feces, all of which supposedly have to do with gay leather sex clubs and health spas. Actually, it might fit better at Boiler.

All over the city, the same hard times that are forcing some galleries to close seem to be creating opportunities for other spaces to pop up or reopen; an incomplete list includes not only Boiler and X Initiative but also Small A Projects, Lisa Cooley, Rachel Uffner Gallery, Light Industry, APF Lab, Scaramouche, Cleopatra’s, Dispatch, Triple Candie, Privateer, new digs for Participant Inc., Sue Scott Gallery, Pocket Utopia, On Stellar Rays, and Invisible-Exports. Who knows how many of these will be around in 48 months or even a year? What matters is that they’re here now, exactly when we need them, already creating energy and starting to make a difference. I love this town.

Boiler
191 N. 14th St. Williamsburg.
Through April 19.

X Initiative: Phase I
548 W. 22nd St. Chelsea.
Through May 30.

E-mail: jerry_saltz@newyorkmag.com.


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