The New York Times
Art in Review
By Ken Johnson
Kenny Schachter ConTEMPorary
14 Charles Lane, West Village
Through Aug. 10
The nomadic curator Kenny Schachter is finally settling down. He commissioned Vito Acconci, the sculptor turned architect, to design a permanent exhibition space inside a brick building on Charles Lane, a quaint cobblestone alley near the Hudson River. It is not complete, but it is open and presenting a group show that demonstrates Mr. Schachter's commitment to blurring boundaries between art, architecture and fashion.
Mr. Acconci's interior decisively rejects the traditional white cube. Inspired by the visionary architect Frederick Kiesler's 1942 design for Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century Gallery in Manhattan, he has turned the space into a winding environment of modular metal screens, some of which flip horizontally to present sculpture or to serve as seats. The steel front door elegantly morphs into the receptionist's desk, and part of a curving ceiling becomes a screen for video projections.
Whether such an aggressively sculptural environment will be good for displaying art is debatable, but it is exciting to see someone dare to think differently. The current exhibition's best piece is Bjorn Melhus's hilarious video, a futuristic talk show in which the artist plays all the roles - New Age priest, petulant guests and a chorus of chanting clones - and the voices are taken from the Maury Povich show.
Also on view are architectural models and plans by Mr. Acconci, understated fashion photographs by a group called United Bamboo, a rough concrete model by Kiesler for his famous Endless House and Gavin Wade's installation of a miniature show of small works by various artists on a Kiesler-designed display unit. It includes David Opdyke's model of a multicar pile-up on a highway in the form of a Mobius strip.