At Off Paradise, a new Tribeca gallery, an exhibition pays homage to the late, great impresario of downtown cool, Glenn O’Brien.
Curated by Natacha Polaert, the show includes works by Walter Robinson, Dash Snow, and Martin Wong, among others, who together defined the era that O’Brien embodied and lived in.
He “was a great many things to a great many people,” Polaert writes in a short essay accompanying the show, adding that O’Brien—an editor, TV personality, screenwriter, critic, and dandy—was “a formidable creative director who elevated advertising to the realm of art.”
“I can’t help but feel like my ads are better than Barbara Kruger’s,” he once famously declared. “Although hers are art and mine, well they are just ads. They have a logo. But I think art has logos now, too, so maybe there is no difference.”
Polaert has assembled an impressive group of artworks by artists whose work captured in various ways the qualities O’Brien appreciated. Some are by artists with whom he rubbed shoulders in Andy Warhol’s Factory, or whom he met as the editor of Interview magazine. Others, such as examples of poetry by Eileen Myles inspired by conversations she had with O’Brien, are taken directly from his life.
Polaert says the exhibition is a portrait en creux, a description of a person’s character “focus[ed]… on the background, on the company he keeps, as well as his actions in the world.”
Take a look images from the show below.
“Glenn O’Brien: Center Stage” is on view at Off Paradise from September 17 through November 2. Off Paradise is located at 120 Walker Street, New York
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