NAC in Chelsea

Seth Price @ Petzel

From about ten paces back

From about ten paces back

It’s got snaps, zippers, a buckle, and straps. The material looks soft, even if beige is among the world’s dullest shades. The interior lining looks like some kind of poly-blend, but what do we think about the pattern printed on it? Tropical flowers and the logo of a finance company. Hmmm. Well, given the cut of this would be garment; I’d say it’s well suited for humans who are shaped like dollar bills. The zipper pull is an eye I reach down and feel its weight in my palm, a fishing lure, a few wooden soccer balls, and a Christmas ornament. They jingle nicely.

I pirouette and approach three encaustic looking rectangular numbers hung in a neat line about head high. They’re all fundamentally the same, like a serial edition that could have been six or six thousand depending on consumer demands. A tangle of rope in a sloppy knot lies beneath the foggy surface of the works, which also employ the logos financial institutions—Capital One and the FDIC—as design elements. They remind me of some non-aquatic thing being forcefully held underwater until its body goes slack. These things give me the chills.


            I pass by a rack of white clothes that are to be handled with white gloves and imagine how they would look splashed with red wine. Violated, yes, but perhaps enlivened a bit too. In the next room I come upon more of the rope pieces and pause to take them in. The surface of these works looks like something that’s been vacuum-sealed. Little ripples and tight folds allude to a moment in the history of this object when all its air was sucked out. They exude the nervous energy of a quite claustrophobic passing through a narrow corridor.

           photo-65 I’m grateful for the skylights in third section of space, not for the illumination but for the feeling of openness. More of these drab garments for dollar bills lie like stacked husks on knee high platforms. On the wall there is something new: images of envelopes printed on cheap paper and adhered to wood boards that have been jig sawed into different shapes. Like the garments, the inside of the envelopes are decorated with corporate logos in repeating patterns.

I see now that these garments are the same shape as the envelopes and that for the most part the envelopes appear torn asunder. The idea of enclosure, or of something inside something else seems to run through all these objects. But there are ruptures too. Not just the torn open envelopes, but the rope in some pieces escapes the seal of the rectangle and droops towards the floor. I consider this as I pause briefly on the threshold of the gallery before making my exit.