Artist Nick Mauss's current exhibition, "The Desire for the Possibility of New Images" at 303 Gallery [through Feb. 18], is a landscape littered with sheets of folded and cut aluminum, scattered across the floor and pinned to the walls like a manuscript caught in an updraft. Glazed ceramic, paper, and silkscreened aluminum sheets present tenuous, delicate drawings that appear as if they could easily splinter from the materials that bind them. Silkscreened onto the aluminum surfaces, repeated images and half formed figures reference and annotate one another as one seeks to construct a whole image from multiple fragments. While Mauss employs various forms and media, his drawings are a consistent thread throughout the work.
Laurie Weeks's debut novel, Zipper Mouth (Feminist Press), chronicles drug- and alcohol-fueled navigations of staid temp agencies, filthy downtown apartments, and the everyday banks, bars and streets of 1990s New York. Through e-mails, letters, and monologues, Weeks's anonymous narrator (who seems to bear some resemblance to Weeks herself) articulates the growing romantic and sexual frustration of her unrequited love for Jane, a straight performance artist.
Sam Lewitt's recently-closed exhibition at Miguel Abreu in New York, "Total Immersion Environment," comprised three works, although only two were physically present in the gallery. The third, The Prosumer's Discretion (all works 2011), was a set of images accessible on the gallery's website. They involved advertisements and reproductions of the artist's work covered in squid ink. The website was likely the way most people first found Lewitt's exhibition, and it was an apt introduction to an artist whose work manipulates the practice of consuming material.
In the gallery were the artist's Test Subjects, reflective sculptures covered in "test dust," a material used to gauge the threshold at which mechanical objects like vacuum cleaners or helicopter engines cease to function due to material interference. Paper Citizens was a group of large high-resolution images hung throughout the gallery, showing letterpress compositions that must be read in reverse. Each of these three series was subjected to screens of concrete material and saturated information. While in one respect Lewitt's treatment of surface was homogenizing, the artist simultaneously foregrounded the process of reading by isolating and slowing down the moment at which information is transferred.
DENA YAGO: I would like to start by talking about The Prosumer's Discretion and your use of the neologism "prosumer." Is this a contraction of the words "professional consumer" or "producer-consumer?"
SAM LEWITT: Both definitions are valid. A short text embedded into the URL for The Prosumer's Discretion (the_prosumer_is_not_an_end_in_itself ....) suggests that the "prosumer" is but one moment in the production cycle. What attracted me to this hackneyed market language was how it tries to force a shift away from the negativity associated with consumption, a term that implies standing over and above an object of knowledge, use or exchange.
Two slide carousels, 80 slides each, approx. 9-minute loop. Courtesy Callicoon Fine Arts, New York.