New York – Critics Picks
“You Are My Sunshine/You Is My Sunshine”
55 Chrystie Street
June 14–July 20
A sadly moribund cultural form—the mix tape—is having a last hurrah at Canada, where it’s the loose organizing principle behind a show that brings together a group of artist/musicians, including Tara Burke, Michael Mahalchick, members of the San Francisco band Caroliner, and Fort Thunder denizen Michael Williams. Each has contributed a mix that visitors are invited to play on a stereo installed in the center of the gallery, and a sort of mix-tape aesthetic prevails in the works themselves—which is to say that they are, for the most part, low-tech, highly personal pseudonarratives of sentiment and idiosyncrasy. From a distance, Tim Rutili’s wall full of Polaroids looks like the kind of thing you’ve seen a hundred times, but when you get up close, the piece resolves itself into something compelling: banal candids, their surfaces scratched and marred by fingerprint whorls, alternate with shots of knick-knacky interiors that evoke a creepier William Eggleston. Devendra Banhart’s and Jocelyn Shipley’s small drawings also reward intimate, up-close viewing, as do Brian Belott’s notebooks filled with hallucinatory collages (some with pop-up elements). Thick, hefty, and crusted with glitter, the notebooks have a guilelessly psychedelic quality that harks back to 1960s “trip books”—another analog-era diversion that has gone the way of the shoulder-borne boom box.