If the measure of an art exhibition is the degree to which it gains maximum exposure for its artists, then the opening of the Here & Now Exhibition at Lyons Wier Gallery was a resounding success. On a cold Saturday evening, the gathered crowd in this small west Chelsea space was spilling into the streets. The stragglers outside stood next to the garbage piles that had still not been gathered by the trash man (a result of the recent snowpocalypse). There appeared to be another gallery event on this otherwise quiet section of street–so there were many freezing aesthetes milling about amongst the trash heaps, looking for some art to admire.
Inside the Lyons Wier, those assembled were clustered tightly in a barely-moving nebula around the a piece in the center of the room—a nearly six-foot porcelain vase by Sin-Ying Ho entitled “In a Dream of Hope.” It was intricately painted in blue-and-white design, with strips of it removed to reveal lists of stock prices from the New York Stock Exchange, Nikkei and others. On each of the walls, paintings of varying sizes and vastly different subjects stared back—Martin Wittfooth’s provocative Bacchus (the titular god played by an seemingly impassive baboon drinking motor oil) and the woman in Tim Okamura’s Work Shirt wore a paint-stained flannel shirt, a large Afro (the texture of which jumped off the canvas), and a stoic look. With several excuse-me’s and some awkward maneuvering, I slowly made me way around the room while sipping cold Budweiser from a can.