Buhmann on Art: Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Scott Nedrelow
GENESIS BREYER P-ORRIDGE: TRY TO ALTAR EVERYTHING
Born in 1950 in Manchester, England, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge has lived many incarnations. Known as a “mail art” provocateur, “avant-garde anti-hero,” and the “godfather of industrial music” (having fronted Throbbing Gristle and, later, the post-punk band Psychic TV), s/he has recently gained increasing attention for the Pandrogeny Project (captured for larger audiences in the moving 2012 documentary “The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye”).
The Pandrogeny Project was sparked by Breyer P-Orridge’s and h/er late wife Lady Jaye’s desire to unite as a single entity. Spanning several years, this endeavor involved surgical body modification to help both spouses to physically resemble one another. Breyer P-Orridge continued this quest even after Lady Jaye’s tragic death in 2007. Throughout Breyer P-Orridge’s career, the exploration of the meaning and substance of identity have been at the core of h/er oeuvre — which by now spans nearly five decades. The same is true for this exhibition.
Curated by Beth Citron, it features a selection of paintings, sculptures, and installations. Revealing how Hindu mythology and Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley have significantly impacted Breyer P-Orridge’s work, it points at the fact that both “Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Nepal itself have long shirked the confines of ‘either/or.’ ”
In Nepal, where many people identify as Hindu and Buddhist at the same time, hybrid traditions are common. Genesis and Lady Jaye’s Pandrogeny Project, and their drive for an elective and creative gender identity might have signified a hybrid of a different nature, but it also required a strong notion of spiritual openness. Furthermore, much of Breyer P-Orridge’s artistic practice is rooted in devotion and ritual. Incorporating new works produced in Nepal, “Try to Altar Everything” will also give visitors opportunities to personally interact with the artist and engage with the provocative themes of self-expression and devotion.
Through Aug. 1 at the Rubin Museum of Art (150 W. 17th St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.). Hours: Mon. & Thurs., 11am–5pm; Wed., 11am–9pm; Fri., 11am–10pm; Sat./Sun., 11am–6pm. Admission: $15 ($10 students/seniors, free for active duty military personnel & children 12 and under). Call 212-620-5000 or visit rubinmuseum.org.
SCOTT NEDRELOW: POLYFOCAL
By embracing a variety of media, such as video, photography, and painting, the Brooklyn-based Nedrelow explores the technologies and materials of contemporary digital imaging. While his practice has been described as post-photographic, there remains a clear consciousness of traditional photographic concerns, in particular in regard to light.
Nedrelow is keenly interested in both light in itself and our changing relationship to it, pointing indirectly to the fact that digital technology and displays impact our eyes in new ways on a daily basis. His ponderings along these lines are very well executed and exude a subtle elegance, as well as fierce intelligence. In this exhibition for example, several new videos will be featured and displayed on Ultra High-Definition TV screens. They belong to Nedrelow’s ongoing “Viewfinder Sculptures” series, in which the frame of the TV is transformed into a camera viewfinder that shows what is directly behind the object. Meanwhile, in another group of signature works entitled “Afterlight,” Nedrelow extracts CMYK inkjet pigments from their commercial cartridges before airbrushing them manually onto his support of choice: freestanding coils of “premium luster” Epson photo paper.
These stunning works are characterized by very subtle coloring, which is revealed best when viewed from a distance; when inspected up close, the ink becomes almost imperceptible. Lastly, providing this exhibition with its title, Nedrelow’s “Polyfocal” paintings are made of paper, reconfigured into many cone-like shapes, and sprayed with ink from all sides.
No matter how different in appearance, all of Nedrelow’s works exploit their materials’ ability to represent something photographic while denying the use of the photographic processes associated with them.
Through July 31 at KANSAS (210 Rivington St., btw. Ridge & Pitt Sts.). Hours: Wed.–Sun., 12–6pm and by appointment. Call 646-559-1423 or visit kansasgallery.com.
—BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN