“Loft in The Red Zone” Review
By Jill Smith
The scene of the crime is littered with dusty footprints, several lines of police tape bar entrance into enclaves, and hot, red halogen lights brighten an otherwise dim room. These are just a few of the austere settings in a gripping exhibition on Wall Street entitled “Loft In The Red Zone.”
The brainchild of artist and curator, Marika Maiorova, the exhibition came about as a personal response to the remains of her lofted downtown studio after 9/11. Like many other artists who working and living in Chinatown, LES, and Soho; Dado quickly found herself disorientated and lost. And the neighborhood, now called “The Red Zone”, was never going to be the same again. Ten years after 9/11, the neighborhood surrounding the exhibit reeks of fear, police circling the premises, one realizes that Maiorova found the ideal space for this exhibition.
Adjacent to the hustle and bustle of downtown Manhattan and lines of tourists snapping pics of the city, viewers will find this exhibit more than just a place to reflect. Strikingly original, it captures the still palpable emotional residue of 9/11. Near the entrance is a large installation piece by Abraham Lubelski entitled 250,000 Works on Paper. Made of stacked boxes and bundles of works on paper, it creates a sinewy snake-like path in the center of the gallery. Upon closer inspection, the individual images take center stage. Each one is spontaneous, impulsive and resonates with automatism and immediacy. Peeking my interest, I notice that each one is free. Sometimes a small gesture can also be a big one. And this is no exception. Utilizing direct action, free choice, and participation this work offers us a sense of communally shared experience. By taking a work, we engage in Lubelski’s sentiment, each one offering sense of renewal and hope.
In contrast, Josh Azzarella’s psychologically disturbing film is a meditation on destruction. His piece, Untitled # 8, is 2:31 long and runs on an endless loop. Against a pale, blue backdrop, a fuzzy plane image comes in and out of focus. Muffled voices and sirens in the background develop a sense of anxious tension. But here, the eventual crash landing never happens. The lingering sense of fear and paranoia remain though. This work is incredibly poignant, as the first decade of 2000s in the U.S. was marked by an unparalleled sense of fear, both real and imagined.
Another intensely, evocative work lies in the back of the gallery. There, an installation spanning about 300 square feet, recreates tragedy with surprising results. Maiorova’s own work consists of strewn clothes, trash, a dresser, and even a T.V. all under a thick haze of dust. This cake-like, white dust settles on everything, forever freezing it in time and memory. Emotionally prescient, this work is intensely personal, yet universally understood.
The real highlight of the show is Jordan Eagles. Blood preserved behind Plexiglas makes up the material list for his work entitled FK= Fresh Kill/Flow Kinetic. The Plexiglas illuminates the blood, which spatters and cascades across the surface. Enclosed behind the Plexi, the blood feels like a specimen in a history museum. And, in a sense, it is just that. The blood is memorialized. It’s scaled up, retained and illumined, ready for display. By choosing a simplistic motif, yet utterly human materials, this work delivers an undeniable sensation of bodily pain.
Ultimately, “Loft in the Red Zone”, offers several variations on a theme. The theme is brought to the fore some 10 years later, when the dust has proverbially settled. What one notices though, is the way in which memory can contour even the most tragic events and transform them into moments of heightened clarity and insight. If we pay attention, we can also find hope.
Participating artists: Emil Alzamora, Josh Azzarella, Martin Abrahams, Marcia Annenberg, Brenda Berkman, Charles Bernstein, Pascal Blondeau, Gulsen Calik, Frank Shifreen, Ford Crull, Peggy Cyphers, Tunji Dada, Jordan Eagles, Mimi Gross, William T. Hillman, G.H. Havagimyan, Kerry Irvine, Jessica Jamroz, Shenge Ka, Anton Kandinsky, Daniela Kostova , Helga Landauer, Abraham Lubelski, Marikama Dado, Eric O’Connell, Sandra Rubel, Arlene Rush, Michael Ricardo Andreev, Soundwalk Collective, Angie Smith, Louise Stern, Calder K. Singer, Barbora Venckunaite, Ultra Violet, Maurizio Zuluaga, Lee Wells, WK.