After a year of worrying about life’s most basic needs--health, breath, food, toilet paper--we are slowly remembering we have other, more complex human desires. We are beginning to remember we sought out beauty, conviviality, wit and sarcasm when we left the house. After a year putting up with the life of the body, we have emerged craving the life of the mind. And by ‘life of the mind’ we primarily mean art world asshattery, parenting fails, fear of missing out, and other assorted social horrors. All the awkward chitchat, hipster getups, and pretentious namedropping we hated, we now find that we miss terribly. Our precious unbearable New York City cohabitants! Including the art world! In all their glories, joys, and embarrassing summer fashion.
Auxiliary Projects, doors closed for over a year, now reopens with a gift to ourselves and our neighbors as we present the work of two gifted satirists teaming up to present work in “A Desperate Grasp for Relevance.” Smit and Thompson use simple black and white drawings to skewer and slice the vicissitudes of our culture. With cartoons, the forebears of today’s memes, these artists draw our attention to the nagging unexamined absurdities at the periphery of our vision. In this town, the New Yorker (whose vaulted imprimatur undergirds some of the work on view) is often the end of sentences that begin, “hey did you see...?” Inspired by the magazine’s cartoons’ style and their propensity to hover between hilarity and inscrutability, both artists meticulously besmirch, basically, us and, basically, you.
A longtime humorist and Brooklyn bon vivant, Guy Richards Smit camouflages unnerving darkness in the venerable and unmistakable style of the New Yorker. With delicious contempt, Smit paints a target on the back of his own self and surroundings: the art world, parenting, politics and pandemic culture.
Adam Douglas Thompson, whose work comprised the gallery’s third exhibition in 2013, returns here with a tranche of social critique drawings. The artist’s trademark surreal visual puns are here paired with captions that push the comedy one step beyond, causing double and triple takes. Many of the cartoons on view question not only what we see, but how we learned to see it, and the vanity implied by our choosing to look in the first place.