“Oh, I get it… It’s a Bro Sleep No More!” Inside Brooklyn’s warehouse style Pierogi Gallery’s Boiler space, there’s a replica of a suburban house, detailed down to the Playboys under the mattress, only you won’t see it like it over the weekend at the art opening night. It got destroyed.
Dick Sharpie squiggles and broken mirrors, overturned couches and a carpet soaked in ash and keg juice and, I’m told — we left at the mom-is-going-to-be-mad phase of the party, not the woah-things-just-got-really-dark phase — giant holes in walls — it’s the stuff of YA nightmares, that part of college culture you might want to run from… unless you are excused by the artifice of being inside a piece of art — Andrew Ohanesian’s House Party (2012). The artist spent $25,000 of would-be-grad-school-money/gallery funds to build the house, hide “the goods” (We’re not telling!) and fill the space with local variable youth and a comparably ”grown-up” looking people swarming and lounging “the house” with red solo cups and, after a few hours, rowding out proper.
There was a kid in there playing video games, seemingly unsupervised, weaseling through the hordes grinding to 2Pac, looking for a bag of chips. He turned the experience into something like immersive theater, as an actor would. Looking at some of these sweaty, bouncing, greasy ‘n’ merry animals, you can’t at all tell if they were “in on it” too. Traversing the space with a sense of shame — or fancy-free frolic, depending on your own personal legacy/level of commitment — you’d find Easter Eggs. A working vacuum cleaner. A Vonnegut novel. A couple of teenage-looking visitors making out in the game room. There are moments later, smoke-filled, sweat-soaked moments not documented here, but you know what it is.
Was that Relational Aesthetics? Probably, to an extent, but it was more like an interactive sculpture, a social experiment. Some of us climbed up the secondary structure (Sorry, Pierogi!) and saw the mock-dwelling’s roof — a bare wood theater set with air and water pipes thrust out, a little sky light to see inside. That was the Truman’s Show moment of the evening. Inside, it’s easier to pretend that there are no warehouse walls flush against the “house” “windows”, that you won’t get shamed bouncing to bad Southern rap on the mattress with your dirty shoes, ruining “art”, that you didn’t make eye contact with the always sharp-looking William Powhida while drunkenly shaking the keg and realized, oops, you’re at an art opening. Sort of.
“House Party,” Andrew Ohanesian, Sep 14 – Nov 18, Boiler Room, Pierogi Gallery, Brooklyn. Photos: Marina Galperina/ANIMALNewYork