NYC///MUST-SEE SHOW: THE TWISTED WRECKAGE OF ADEL ABDESSEMED’S “RIO” AT DAVID ZWIRNER GALLERY
Controversial Algerian artist ADEL ABDESSEMED whose works depicting animals in often violent and fatal situations has brought his incomparable vision to American shores with his first NYC solo gallery show “Rio” at DAVID ZWIRNER. Opening last weekend to a crowd that included the awestruck alongside the aghast, the show’s crowing installation was a massive sculpture of twisted and intertwined plane wreckage that transformed the original vehicles into what closely resembled a trio of wrestling earthworms that inevitably brought to mind the crash landing of a passenger plane in the Hudson River this winter. The most divisive works, of course, could be found in the exhibition’s screening room where short films of animal fighting and abuse were screened in loops as an illustration of cultural violence not intended for the faint of heart. In fact, this is exactly the type of work Republicans usually trot out in front of Congress when lobbying against Federally subsidized arts programs. Explaining the show’s title, the artist said, “The show is called Rio, meaning river. I observe the world with the same fascination that my daughter, Rio, contemplates the big animals in the zoo that are thirsty and hungry.” Having roused the ire of Italian audiences with his “The Wings of God,” exhibition in Turin, Italy and the outright condemnation of pseudo-hippies in the Bay Area with his “Don’t Trust Me” show at the SF Art Institute (which was canceled before the scheduled end date), both of which featured similarly violent animal films, Abdessemed is boldly taking the fight for artistic expression to the front lines of the art world with the help of a gallery unintimidated by the current pervasive climate of fear and loathing. An impressive array of other conceptual works including “Music Box,” with a mechanism made from an oil drum, and “Prostitute,” a set of leather bound copies of the Bible, Torah, and Koran, each meticulously handwritten, page by page, by actual prostitutes rounds out the provocative show which, in these knee-knocking times, should be considered essential viewing for all. HAVE A LOOK:
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