Thinking we could get a different perspective with a trip to the Upper East Side, we stopped by Joshua Citarella’s second solo show at Higher Pictures. In the small gallery, packed with a younger crowd of artists and gallerists usually seen on the Lower East Side, images and sculpture of varying layers took up almost every inch of space. Large-framed photographs hung over wallpapered images with little free space. Sculptures leaned against the frames, on the floor and in every corner, the work repeating themes of pixelated clouds, silver substances, marble and skin in every dimension. It’s hard not to feel like you’re trapped in a Tumblr page come to life, yet the chaos of the space is refreshing. Citarella, who is a contributor to the artist Tumblr project The Jogging, uses the layers of Photoshop as inspiration for Rez, a phonetic play of “resolution” meant to highlight “the act of uniting discrete units into a conceptual whole.” In this room it’s possible to see all the details that go into creating an image that doesn’t actually exist, like the picture of the nude woman covered in a silver substance. The image itself is completely photoshopped, however silver fingerprints dot the edges of the frame, and the same silver substance, with more hand prints, is shown on a sculpture in the middle of the floor. In this space, being a small detail doesn’t seem so irrelevant or constricting.
As the show wrapped up the artists piled into a cab back downtown to Beverley’s, a LES bar where you can’t move 5 inches without running into an artist (or anyone else for that matter). It’s a place that much of the art world calls their “Cheers.” Here Citarella has a supplemental installation of video work, showing a series of YouTube videos mirroring his show’s themes, including a sped up video of a Rolex being meticulously photoshopped, and a wallpapered image of marble slabs spinning through pixelated clouds perfectly poised across from the bar’s mirror, a somewhat intentional backdrop for the night’s many selfies. Artists and friends, like painter Nick Farhi, Jeanette Hayes, and a printed cutout image of artist Brad Troemel’s head (the creator of The Jogging and friend of Citarella who’s traveling and couldn’t make it to the show), come to celebrate. It is a small art world, after all, but at least everybody knows your name.