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Not accepting over

Barbara DeGenevieve

Barbara DeGenevieve

Things happen in seasons and cycles. There is an element of return. I am not supposed to announce my favorites lest the lesser are dampened, but time has returned my focus to a favorite. The title seems even more appropriate now that I am contemplating this return.

It ain’t over…

One anchor is easily justified. Barbara DeGenevieve is gone. There won’t be a new work. It bears emphasis that she was utterly intent to release her final major work at slow, a scrappy artist run space, and not an institution. Intentional without knowing the real finality of that move. We had planned next steps and future projects that will never be realized.

I have a regret about that show. We discussed the possibilities of appropriate images for the press release. I proposed a photo of the four of us under the covers in bed together. Barbara balked. How would she justify a move like that, her implicitly nude with undergrad students and me all sharing a bed? But the play of that image, its confrontation to the status quo so relevant to the show we were building was more intoxicating than fear of professional repercussions was threatening. She agreed, and then the three of us let our schedules leave that photo untaken.

The other side of that coin at a completely different juncture in artistic development. New and unproven. Full of bravado because new is complicit with a naivety toward any downside of risk. But the very risk proposed by their work is the heart of what makes it so compelling. Art literally bled for. The tool of its making the same thing we look at. Power demanded and then taken from its sovereign structure. The object of power functioning simultaneously as illumination, impediment to and facilitator of pleasure. Bit my hand by exposing my most intimate places, my hand that fed these young artists the opportunity to bite. Altered the space by cutting it down the middle. Altered the space by extending its boundaries.

The show of these three artists may always be my favorite.

I am thrilled to see a show of new work by Brent R. Garbowski and Joe Mault in New York. Built on the same thrilling contradictions that made the first show my favorite. Joe and Brent sleep together, but the only look at intimacy or sex we get is built on conflicts that arise with extended familiarity. They sleep occupying the same space but in different universes. They will never come together, never touch. They leave permanent marks with their hands that erase their very presence and give themselves over to a spiritualized universal. A good laugh is the gateway to the higher plain.

This show comes along with the next thing at slow, a solo show of new works by Brent. Brent cannot sufficiently feature his practice without the inclusion of work made with Joe. Among the boundaries in play are the limits of individuality, the body, and vision of the artist. I hope that the shows scheduling so near to one another serves to emphasize the way that these parallel practices engaged by Brent do not compete with one another, but bolster his range, his visibility, his relevance. It is also a testament to Joe and his confidence to appear and disappear. Pay attention to these artists and the works they are producing. They are moving boundaries, they are setting new thresholds. Should be a bigger deal than another couple of good ones. Brent and Joe are changing the game.