ART IN REVIEW
‘LEIDY CELESTE NICOLE’
By KAREN ROSENBERG
Published: July 14, 2011
Museum 52, 4 East Second Street, East Village
Through July 31, 2011
The title of this rousing three-person exhibition implies that you should be on a first-name basis with its artists, Leidy Churchman, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer and Nicole Eisenman. And you ought to, if only because they share so much with you: revealing sketchbooks, portraits of friends and lovers, proprietary recipes for art making.
All three give painting a nudge in the direction of performance and “collective agitating,” in the words of the show’s curator, Lauren Cornell (the executive director of Rhizome, an organization dedicated to new-media art, and an adjunct curator at the New Museum). For Ms. Eisenman, the best-known of the group, this means showing drippy, autoerotic oil-and-gesso figure paintings alongside scrapbooks full of letters, drawings and ephemera. They contain (among other things) sketches of sleeping cats, a certificate from a Halloween window-painting contest and a manifesto for “Eisenmanism.”
Ms. Dupuy-Spencer is just as forthcoming, in her own way, with her adroitly executed paintings of small gatherings and parties of one. In “Ceviche and Peruvian Meat,” the guests have moved on to postprandial cigarettes, but the artist lingers at the table, tracing the slimy platters of surf and turf. And in “Riis” a bare-chested woman (Ms. Dupuy-Spencer’s lover, we’re told) leans in for a kiss or a whisper.
Mr. Churchman, meanwhile, uses twigs and other prosthetics to push paint-covered objects — a pear, a belt, a baseball mitt — across a canvas. As documented on video, it’s a game of shuffleboard with sado-masochistic undertones — or, as the artist calls it, “an un-still-life painting that binds together composition, action (the act), personality and a sense of real time.”