Going for walk yesterday I light a cigarette and get a glance of a long out of use synagogue on Eldridge street. It looked like someone lived in it now, with a light up top and curtains closing out the world below. The Star of David on the outside facade corroded and weathered from over a hundred years facing the eastern light. And as I continue the very exhausting task of finding a new studio downtown I couldn’t help but wonder what lucky SOB landed such an historic and spooky building.
Around the corner on the ground floor of Mark Straus Gallery is a solo show by Berlin-based Marin Majić. His work feels like painted collages, with the smiling, posed and sometimes obscured faces reminiscent of phony 1950’s adverts of happy business men, playfully mischievous children, pets and animals, all in scenic outdoor settings.
But Marin displaces the characters’ safety by situating them in sea storms, mountainous terrain and wild landscapes, suggesting the uncertainty and danger of the unknown while the familiarity of the portraits remind one of a stranger’s family photo album.
At the very front of the gallery are a few snapshots of old buildings, and I am a sucker for old New York architecture. By sucker, I mean full-fledged oral bottom for that quintessential New York feeling I get in seeing old tenements, or expired religious structures and the purposeless decorative exteriors on so many buildings, especially here on the Lower East Side.
I talked to Marc when he first opened his space in 2011. He is the son of an immigrant who moved to New York City at the age 15, working and eventually owning several buildings downtown. Marc had planned to open his gallery in Chelsea, but opted for LES, probably because Chelsea is drop dead boring, or, maybe because he owns his present building through an inheritance from his father. All I ever inherited from my father is a love for the Clash and an alcohol problem. Thanks pops!
And that synagogue? Turns out Marc’s father gave it to an artist many decades ago. Fuuuck.
And if that doesn’t make you envious check this out:
Got it after an adventurous weekend that (among trying to steal a car and getting roughed up at a falafel line for my wit, or what others say, my big mouth) included an epic barstool tumble. “You were just looking at the ceiling and fell backward”, said the bartender. “One too many.” Jesus.
You can catch Marin Majić’s show through February 8 at Marc Straus Gallery, at 299 Grand Street, New York, NY. Upstairs currently on view is also a group show of minimalistic sculpture and installation called “Nothing and Everything”, curated by Tim Hawkinson.
Contributed by Dean Dempsey.