Ken Okiishi's name has appeared alongside that of Nick Mauss in several collaborative exhibitions, but (Goodbye to) Manhattan is his first showing of solo work in New York. In a long video and an array of presentational supplements, Okiishi puts pressure on what he calls, in his press release, the grandiose analogies underlying New York's art fantasies about Berlin, and vice versa. Acknowledging his position of no distance, complicit in everything he presents, Okiishi uses his friends (artist-boyfriend Mauss, curator Pati Hertling and student-critic Emmelyn Butterfield-Rosen) as conduits for these Germano-American misfires. Filmed against a green screen and reciting a garbled script, the actors wander aimlessly in a permanent haze of jetlag. But even as he deflates the art world's perpetual transatlantic quest for "something else" or the "next big thing," Okiishi refrains from a knowing cynicism.
Two slide carousels, 80 slides each, approx. 9-minute loop. Courtesy Callicoon Fine Arts, New York.