Culture Crux Review of The New Bitch : Twilight of the Idols

Art Review: Two Visions of Feminism at Gitana Rosa and The Hole

September 18, 2014 By Coral Silverman Leave a Comment

As the term feminism enjoys a resurgence in pop culture, two art shows which opened this month in New York City offer unique visions of its future.

“The New Bitch–Twilight of the Idols” currently on view at Gitana Rosa is the kind of ambitious, risk-taking show that one is would expect to encounter in a Bushwick art space, and almost never does in a Chelsea gallery.  It is messy and uneven, and much of the art doesn’t just flirt with bad taste, but embraces it.  As the title of the show suggests, the artists in the show are unconcerned with making art that is “pretty”–intent instead on upending our expectations, and challenging us to look deeper than their works’ surfaces.

Katie Cercone’s site specific installation incorporates (to name a few) a melange of My Little Ponies, sewn spandex, pink streamers, and a tie-dyed Minnie Mouse with a kaleidoscopic (sometimes literally) video of her playing dress up animated with candy hearts and Lisa Frank stickers. Drawing on the tradition of the grotesque, Gregory Jacobsen’s (the single male in the show) excellent paintings of women, look like a cross between John Currin and Hieronymus Bosch; they posses a similar mastery of paint, but their portrayal of the human body is infinitely more frightening.  More painterly, but no less disturbing are two large oil paintings by Dawn Frasch, that amazingly bring to mind both Botticelli and Goya.

Rebecca Goyette’s faux-naif drawings depicting naked women and groups of pilgrims in various sexual situations are utterly bizarre.  They are made slightly less so, when one learns that the series was inspired by the experience of her great grandmother who was accused of being a Salem witch, inspected for extra teats for her animal familiars, and then hanged.

Perhaps the most traditionally beautiful work in the show is that by painter Michele Basora and photographer Christina Dallas, who interlace enchanting images of women with symbols of nature and the occult, respectively.

The New Bitch is on view at Gitana Rosa Chelsea530 W. 25th Street, #407, New York, New York through October 4, 2014.