Home Visual Arts Spectacle at the Viewing Room, Chelsea.

Spectacle at the Viewing Room, Chelsea.

Photography by Julie Keyes.

Slowly climbing the stairs at 551 West 21st Street to the Viewing Room on Thursday, I realized I was going to see some impressive art. It wasn’t because I was familiar with the work I was there to see—by artists Wyatt Neumann and Bonnie Rychlak as curated by James Kennedy—but because the stairs I was on were packed. People milled about on each of the floors, taking in everything from a painting of a cross-eyed girl on a cheetah to a performance piece featuring someone “preparing for a dinner party” (Regarding the latter, I may have simply walked through someone’s apartment. They may have actually been having a dinner party).

Finally, I heard the din of a gathered crowd, and knew I had arrived at the first exhibition. It was Neumann’s “Moments Like This Never Last”, and it included a string of photos—only about four inches square—bisecting one wall of the room. The photos were in a perfect line, with no discernable theme apart from muted tones and fuzzy Polaroid-like warmth. Pictures of people in costume with funny faces, toilets, roadside motels, kids at play, motorcycle odometers. Landmarks and laughter, absurdity and beauty: this was seemingly a parade of Americana snaking across the fourth floor of a Chelsea art studio. Nothing seemed linear but their placement on the wall. And of course, the only way to see them was to join the slow-moving, single-file line of admirers. It didn’t allow for a stolen moment with your favorite picture.  Traffic would back up.