videos and press from NYC Jack Hanley show
The Jack Hanley Gallery
Closing Extravaganza Thursday, Sept.3, 2009, 6-9PM
136 Watts, N.Y., N.Y. 10013
Mock Up on MU
136 Watts Street, TriBeCa
Through Sept. 5
Despite the supposed secularism of the art world, many artists subscribe to one or another form of New Age belief. Often, however, their works undercut any apparent piety with self-effacing humor or comical exaggeration, as the San Francisco artist Kal Spelletich does in an amusing show of interactive sculptures ostensibly designed to promote well-being.
The main attraction, “Herb Alpert Upper Body Hydro-Pneumatic Pulsation Vacu Engine,” is a table on which clumsily made, toylike machines are displayed. A hand crank attached to the table produces electric power when, with some effort, it is rotated. This causes some of the machines to light up or move around and a turntable to play one of Mr. Alpert’s old records.
How does this promote healing? It’s the cardiovascular workout produced by turning the crank. Whether Mr. Spelletich is a secret believer in New Age healing is hard to say, but taken at face value, his work appears to be a species of social satire.
That seems to be the case as well with a film by Craig Baldwin, another San Franciscan, that is also at the gallery. Titled “Mock Up on MU,” the film is a feature-length montage of old B-movie clips, industrial documentaries and newly shot scenes having to do with the Scientologist L. Ron Hubbard; the occultist Marjorie Cameron; and Jack Parsons, a founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory who was a follower of the British occultist Aleister Crowley. It is a hoot and an excellent companion to Mr. Spelletich’s daffy sculpture. KEN JOHNSON