The installation, 'Triumph of Painting, 2006' and related paintings and sculptures
536 West 22nd Street
January 07–February 11
When an artist opens a show with an installation called The Triumph of Painting, 2004–2005, but includes no "proper" paintings, it's a bold step. When that installation consists of two "life"-size bronzed and gilded skeletons suspended, midair, playing Frisbee, that step becomes a brazen leap. Spanning a baffling array of media and motifs, Matthew Weinstein's latest solo show is a smart display of the artist's jocular mind and protean talent. Triumph plays on the eschatological premise of Charles Saatchi's (recently postponed) exhibition of the same name, wryly suggesting that such hubris is bad for one's health. In the next room hang three gorgeous "paintings" of flower arrangements from Weinstein's "Ikebana" series. Originally modeled in Maya, the design was then transferred to wood and detailed by an auto-body painter; the results—lacquered imbroglios of flowers, drink parasols, and transparent baubles—make for some menacing still lifes. Some of the show's brilliance is muddled by Three Love Songs From the Bottom of the Ocean, 2005, a sloppily animated three-dimensional Japanese Koi singing torch songs in the next room, but projected opposite one-hundred painted bronze cocktail umbrellas (100 Chances for Happiness, 2005), the piece develops a maudlin desperation that salvages its Pixar overtones. Weinstein delights in anchoring fragile tokens of exchange (Frisbees, cocktail umbrellas, flowers, and love songs) to more permanent materials (metal, walls, or the bottom of the ocean), an anxious practice that reveals either an acute case of worldly codependence or a firm faith in the value of reciprocity.