Currently at James Fuentes is “Im Not Pregnant” exhibiting two artists, Lizzi Bougatsos and Thorton Dial. I want to highlight the work of Bougatsos because the approach she has in her work and the humorous presence it has within the stark white gallery space. When first viewing the gallery space, key identifiers are present as “culturally charged” objects that touch upon popular culture. Flags are used in a couple works, one being “Dick Toss II”, made from an American Flag and a found poster depicting a Beer Pong table and a obstructed image of a female form behind text that writes “ATM” and “Get your Balls Wet”. How can this get any better? What a great dialogue on American pop culture raised by Bougatsos, and one you smile about.
Another piece that resonates similarly is “Happy Ending”, consisting of five gazing globes with a blue polished surface strung on a rope with a flower tied to the end which lies on the ground unsuspectingly. Bougatsos was able to create what seems to be a large rendition of a line of anal beads. Accompanied by a flower which lies on the ground labeling some sort of relationship, possibly romantic. Even if Bougatsos didn’t want to refer to romance, the red rose has its basic qualities and significance to the cultural climate of today. There are also no human subjects (in an image, or object) that accompany the objects in “Happy Ending”, which means only the viewer will. It must be an interesting experience to watch an unsuspecting viewer approach this piece, before realizing its rendition of an oversized sex toy. Im sure it’s hard to look at this piece without grinning.
Bougatsos finds comfort in the absurdity of the images and objects she creates, and it’s within this absurdity where she harvests humorous dialogues to present to her audience. Her choice in materials are also interesting, because they change with every piece. This is a refreshing approach to making art, opening yourself to work with a range of objects and images, instead of owning your materials and techniques like a formally trained painter would. If you’re in New York make a stop at James Fuentes and see Bougatsos’ new works on view. Its worth it.
Contributed by Gregory Ito
Venue: James Fuentes, New York
Title: I’m Not Pregnant
Artists: Lizzi Bougatsos and Thorton Dial
Dates: November 9th – December 21st, 2012
Press Release (Excerpt):
James Fuentes is pleased to announce ‘I’m Not Pregnant.’ a two-person exhibition featuring Lizzi Bougatsos and Thornton Dial.
Lizzi Bougatsos (born Queens, New York, 1974) has had solo shows at The Breeder, Athens, Greece (2009); and James Fuentes, New York (2007, 2009). Bougatsos presented two-person exhibitions at Reena Spaulings with Kim Gordon (2005) and Jess Holzworth at American Fine Arts Co. (2000). Selected group exhibitions include: Shizaru Gallery, London, England, curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody (2012); Andrea Rosen, New York (2012); The NewBridge Project, London, England (2012); The Victoria Myhren Gallery at the University of Denver, Colorado (2012); American Contemporary Art from the Astrup Fearnly Collection at the 29th Sao Paulo Biennial, Brazil (2011); The Whitney Biennial, New York (2008); The Astrup Fearnly Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo, Norway (2008); “In/Out of Me”, curated by Klaus Biesenbach for MACRO – Museo d’arte Contemporanea di Roma, Milan, Italy, and Kunste Werke, Berlin, Germany (2007); and “Criss-Cross: Some Young New Yorkers” curated by Klaus Biesenbach for P.S.1 Institute of Contemporary Art, New York (1999). Bougatsos is a recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation grant (2003).