AUGUST 11 - SEPTEMBER 09, 2011





Sam Anderson, Uri Aran, Bianca Beck, Gene Beery, Sebastian Black, Valentin Carron, Mathew Cerletty, Ann Craven, Max Farago, Gelitin, Van Hanos, Ian Hokin, Jamie Isenstein, Zak Kitnick with Alex Kitnick, Andrew Kuo, Asher Penn, PMD, Scott Reeder, David Shrigley, Michael E. Smith, Josh Tonsfeldt, Francis Upritchard, William Wegman

Organized by West Street Gallery.

August 11 – September 9, 2011

Opening Reception: Thursday, August 11. 6 – 8pm

In residency at Harris Lieberman, West Street Gallery is pleased to present Heads with Tails, a group exhibition that elaborates on ways artists today approach figuration. The show’s title alludes to the relationship between artist William Wegman and his first Weimeraner, and posits absurdity as central to the project of representation. When every artwork is a conceptual artwork—or is assumed to critique and exceed the strategies of representation and the desire mechanisms of the image—what is the appeal of the figure? The artists here use absurdity in order to disrupt notions of form and organization. Writing about Wegman, Craig Owens declared his “refusal of mastery” speaking of his primitive strategies and his planned failed actions. The artists here tease out a third planned failure central to the artist’s work—an approach to depicting form (both human and animal) flush with the inability to render wholeness, objectivity, or complete understanding.

We take as crucial two Wegman works from the mid-1970s, when the artist was transitioning from critically lauded, humorous conceptualist to popular man of the dogs and the Polaroids: Blondes and Brunettes (1974-76), a diptych of gridded photographic portraits of two women of different hair colors in various humorous but un-classifiable poses; and Gray Hairs (1976), a video that begins as a formalist study of texture only to abruptly pan out, revealing the breathing body of a dog.

West Street Gallery is a New York-based project space founded in 2010.