This weekend while in Manhattan for a wedding, I made a point to catch the T_XT_RT exhibit in its last week at the Jenkins Johnson Gallery in Chelsea. Early Saturday morning I walked from the east side to the west, and armed with iced tea, I explored the new High Line Park which is revolutionizing the decaying railroad tracks that hover above the city there. Jenkins Johnson Gallery is on 26th street at the foot of some High Line stairs.
T_XT_RT is “an exhibition which examines the relationship between text and art. Focusing on visual artwork which incorporates text…” My main concern was with seeing the work of Burt Ritchie, artist and writer, and Richmond son. His Alabama Bathroom Walls (2008) and American Currency (2009) speak to issues of race, politics, and authorship. And his four-panel piece, Two Rode Together (2010), addresses the weight of pop culture in our hearts and minds while exploring continuity of voice, all threaded with a nuanced theme of death and how death is acknowledged through pop culture and voice.
Other work that caught my attention: Brian Dettmer’s altered books, American Vaudville (2009) and Book of the Dead (2008) where the book becomes a visual artifact, not solid and sacred anymore, but movable, cuttable even, while information turns electronic.
And Felandus Thames whose larger compilations of teabags and acrylic on canvas have phrases sprawled on them: I Was A Man and War Was Over (both 2011).
Courtney Johnson curated the T_XT_RT exhibition which runs through June 25. Other artists included are Samson Young, Tim Etchells, and Jeremy Bert.
Much thanks to Teresa Kelley of Jenkins Johnson Gallery for supplying images.