press release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                              

The Shallow Curator
Gisel Florez, George McCracken, the Spirit, and Kevin Zucker
Curated by Ivin Ballen and Christopher K. Ho

July 11 to August 15, 2008
Opening Reception: Friday, July 11, 2008
Summer Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 11 to 6 PM

Winkleman Gallery is pleased to present The Shallow Curator, a summer group exhibition with neither urgency nor depth. The exhibition skims the surface of art-making, buoyed by such concerns as an artist’s sense of style. It features projects by Gisel Florez, George McCracken, the Spirit, and Kevin Zucker. To counter the inevitable meaning that any juxtaposition of works engenders, The Shallow Curator accumulates weak links, none of which dominate and that, collectively, remain isolated intellectual cul-de-sacs.
Kevin Zucker produced The Shallow Painting, 2008, specifically for The Shallow Curator. Elaborating a previous series of paintings of standard metal shelving units, Zucker asked other participants in The Shallow Curator to contribute objects to place on the shelves (1). In this sense, the shelving units rhyme with the exhibition’s premise, and with the gallery in general: the three are vessels into which disparate objects are inserted, and hence given provisional unity (2).

George McCracken, a painter turned designer, presents his Spring 2009 menswear collection, shortly available at Bergdorf Goodman. As The Shallow Curator coincides with the fashion industry’s market week, McCracken is meeting buyers at the gallery behind a Corbusier table accessorized with Eames aluminum chairs, all from Design Within Reach (3). The George McCracken Collection features natural materials, superior construction, and discreet colors.
Photographer Gisel Florez’s Exquisite Taste (Olive) and Exquisite Taste (Bruno), both 2007, depict dogs chewing up handbags and clothing. In a moment of savagery, the otherwise domestic pets critique their own recent devolution into accessories as well as heighten the products’ desirability by destroying them and rendering them inaccessible (4). These works, of Florez’s own, form the basis on which firms and magazines hire her as a product photographer (5).
Channeling John McCracken (6), the Spirit created a slightly smaller, less expensive “Art Within Reach” version of a slab piece (7). Made to rest against a vertical surface, John McCracken, 2008, is available is various colors and finishes, and can be reconfigured for any collector’s living room (8). The Spirit, a Nevada resident, is also known as Jackie Cohen.
The Shallow Curator culls from fine art, design, and fashion as well as (albeit lightly) from the spiritual realm. If there is an argument at all, it is to reconsider the disinterested—or “shallow”—eye of modernism through the prism of elite consumerism, not in order to critique it but to expand it. This prism uniquely joins the quality that only lots of money can buy, and the levity and ludic possibility that befits, and perhaps reflects upon, the summer gallery season.

(1) Zucker is a former teacher of McCracken; neither is Native American.
(2) Just as Zucker juxtaposes three distinct spatial registers—real, digital, perspectival—he holds in tension the printed and painterly mark. In contrast, Florez conflates actual and representational space, where the photos double a moment in reality; further, the digital printing process masquerades as darkroom printing.
(3) McCracken’s table and chairs are identical to those used by a gallery that Zucker has worked with in the past. The desks in Winkleman Gallery’s office were a gift from another gallery with which Zucker has worked.
(4) McCracken uses photography to promote his clothes, which will soon be featured in BG Magazine. Florez uses clothing as props for her photographs, which will soon be featured in V Magazine. Florez has never shot McCracken’s line.
(5) Both Florez and McCracken are at the edge of the fashion industry. The former’s photographs are almost advertisements—they generate subsequent commissions—and the latter, at only his second collection, is still emerging. Fittingly, Winkleman Gallery is on Chelsea’s outer edges, in a building that now favors tenants in the fashion industry over galleries.
(6) McCracken shares a last name with George McCracken; both are from the Bay Area.
(7) In this sense, the artist’s relinquishing of control over subject matter in Zucker’s The Shallow Painting to other participants in the Shallow Curator is structurally analogous to the Spirit’s downplaying of originality.
(8) If Florez’s ad works are unlimited, McCracken’s limited editions, and Zucker’s originals from series, the Spirit’s work is a limited edition forgery.