Something is Critiquing Me
SEPTEMBER 15 - OCTOBER 2, 2014
Opening Reception: Thurs. Oct. 2, 6-8 pm
PROXY GALLERY is pleased to announce an exhibition by the artist and writer Benjamin Weissman, author of two books of short fiction, most recently Headless. In Something is Critiquing Me Weissman presents nine black and white drawings inside, under and on the sides of the Proxy structure. Refusing to divide pornography into good (art alibi) and bad (pornography), Weissman presents a compendium of images and language that are by turn satirical, illustrative, funny and bizarre. Crude and yet carefully executed close-ups of the copulative moment, men young and old, hairy and smooth, appear in action or as talking heads, in underwear that could also be diapers.
There are six penises, two vaginas, one dildo and a cat, standing perhaps for balance and domestication. Two of the penises and the one dildo appear to be properly anatomically attached, while the rest are disembodied.
There are ten sentences, three with question marks at the end, and most of them echo the rhetorical communication style of both advertising and art school: questioning, dialectics, inspiration, art, museum, course credit, stealing ideas and the like. And of course the Brechtian or Krugeresque “you” is breaking the fourth wall to interrogate the viewer directly. This is institutional critique at its most corporeal, performatively deconstructing the unspoken horror that exists in the space between professorial pedagogy and sex (male, heterosexual).
To draw linkages to G. Bataille or M. Kelley or R. Pettibon or P. McCarthy would be validating, and yet Weissman’s work resists its insertion into (by now) comfortable art historical fecalities and theories of “gender” or “the body.” “Something” is critiquing him, as in, something is bothering him; perhaps the critical theorization, fetishization, refinement and spiritualization of sex. Weissman’s is a really difficult Base Materialism; he tries to write and draw in a way that cannot be discursively contained, while the ideological container stretches ever more to include and thus neutralize.