Wednesday, February 22, 2012

And the band came marching in

Just as I was leaving the preview for the dual shows of Michael Raedecker and Mary Heilmann at Hauser and Wirth, a band came marching in. Literally. The Royal British Legion Band, complete with drums and brass instruments and drum major, processed right into the middle of the room of Raedecker's work. It certainly ended the night with a bang.

Does this always happen at Hauser & Wirth openings? Is this gallery trying to make a statement about current contemporary gallery culture? About the current market?

The work on view was emboldened (for better or for worse: heightened? subsumed?) by the marching band. For his part, Raedecker presented a strong corpus of work of embroidered and painted canvases of cakes and chandeliers as well as sophisticated suburban landscapes. The delicate stitching demanded attention, domestic imagery quite out of the ordinary. Heilmann's bright, sunny, seaside-evoking installations (chairs and artworks that spread across the wall) and canvases in neon hues transported the viewer into uplifting abstraction.

Whatever the aim of the band, the varied crowd already buzzing at the Hauser & Wirth preview had just that much more to buzz about, smiling.