“Take yourself to Chelsea,” I thought. Appreciate a bus bench rather than dread it. Look to the East and remember the Flatiron Building is beautiful. Take the time to enjoy watching a man power smoke through a cigarette because he’s got to get into that Starbucks to have his latte. Enjoy yourself and the New York City around you while you wait and wait for that crosstown bus. And if you’re lucky enough you’ll still be at that bus bench when the man comes back out of the Starbucks with his latte and shoves a new cigarette into his mouth.
I always get to Chelsea with an air of ego, “I know where I’m going because I’ve been here a million times.” Greene Naftali gallery is not like other galleries. The building says 508 but this sure as hell isn’t a gallery. The elevator operator inside the building explains, “Go back outside to the right and then your first right.” The world calls out, “make wrong turns and find a whole new perspective down new alleyways.” This is where I find the work of Gedi Sibony. I never would have thought I’d be behind a building just beneath the Highline Park to see a show of massive aluminum pieces. Greene Naftali isn’t so much a gallery as it is a sanctuary; with walls and light that travels down between buildings spilling through windows in the ceiling onto the main floor of the gallery space.
Again I find myself in a room filled with compositions that aren’t quite paintings. Nor are they sculpture. And not exactly installation. They play within a realm of objects and reality. Sibony’s work at Greene Naftali rejects classical ideas of pictorial space because they have literally been ejected from mundane everyday objects. Semi-trucks to be more specific. Not that there’s anything mundane about reality or semi-trucks, for that matter, it’s just that this is the environment of the work’s novelty. Sibony’s work asks viewers to take the time to rethink what they see every day so that it may become what else it could be.
Sibony’s works have become synonymous with found objects. Objects that are thin, aged, worn, forgotten and overlooked. Not that the objects are poorly crafted or feeble, but they are sensitive in that time plays a role. They are weathered in a rather apparent way and this becomes part of the works’ vernacular. There are no great visual speeches to read into on the walls, only little poems. The works scale certain ideas from expressionism to minimalism, while also addressing something similar to that of the pop art of Robert Rauschenberg. At times it feels like there is something familiar in the unknown, just shadowed behind a haphazard layer of paint, or places where the sun has bleached away what was once a Pepsi logo or a liquor bottle.
These objects feed a new art world some would call confusing and alienating. But these words fall short of explaining a new revolution that is happening in art all around the world; changes that have always occurred throughout the history of art. The proper word may not even be contemporary as much as it should be different. No time to fear change, now is the time to see with new eyes and a fresh outlook.
Efrem Zelony-Mindell is an artist who lives in New York. For more of his work click here ...
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