Shoot the Lobster
September 23- October 2
Michael Bauer, Nicholas Typaldos
by Andrea McGinty
In the intro to probably every single interview I’ve ever read lies a brief yet detailed description of what the interviewer ate as they sat down with their interviewee to chat. While the following isn’t an interview, it feels important to tell you I had exactly nine raw oysters and a glass of rosé before heading to the second night of Good Night Day Care, a series of musical performances at Shoot the Lobster in the Lower East Side. My pregame, or, depending on perspective, chaser, feels important to mention as it was a bit out of character for me; a small indulgence permitted only after a long and frustrating trek through Chelsea galleries in attempt to find an art that I liked. Not even ike, I guess, but at least that got me going.
INT. GALLERY - DAY
“Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present acility of DECLINE, n exhibition of early works from Matthew Barney’s 1991 New York debut at the gallery’s former SoHo location. Marking a continued collaboration between the artist and gallery, key sculptures, videos, and drawings from the series will be reunited for the first time in twenty-five years.”
The show itself was fantastic. Slick. Evocative. Invigorating. Timeless. It could have easily been the debut exhibition produced entirely in 2016 by a hot, young emerging artist (probably totally unaware of Barney’s earlier work). I was momentarily energized by the beauty and depth of the sculptures I had only seen in photos, though as I left the gallery and drudged through the descending blocks I was left with a sinking feeling. If the most exciting show was a ghost from the past, a figment of freshness, where did that leave me? I made my way downtown planning to hit up some exhibitions in the Lower East Side before the night’s performances, but instead, distraught, chose to bury my sorrows in a nonet of freshly shucked happy hour mollusks in a desperate attempt to restore a bit of faith, or clarity, or something.
INT. GALLERY - NIGHT
When I arrived at Shoot the Lobster it was immediately apparent that this was not the usual auxiliary event scheduled to get more people into the gallery during the run of a show. The walls were lined with xeroxed posters and sound proofing foam, and the front window was draped with handmade t-shirts and band merch. Organized by artist/musicians Michael Bauer and Nicholas Typaldos, Good Night Day Care transformed the gallery from September 23 to 25, 2016 into a collaborative recording and performance space. During the daytime, musicians combined efforts to compose and record unrehearsed music, and during the evenings they returned to their carefully honed sets.
As the diverse audience anticipating the performances grew, they floated through the room filling seats and saying hellos. Some knew each other (some I knew), others did not (many I did not). The atmosphere was far from the quick greetings and abbreviated conversations of
an exhibition opening. We were here together, for the duration, not a quick stop off between back to back openings. It felt more like a community, like the DIY shows I went to as a kid, or even the exhibition openings of a smaller art scene, not yet inundated by the hundreds of galleries spread across our four boroughs. It was relaxed, familiar, welcoming. We introduced ourselves and our friends to new friends, chatted a bit, then introduced some more before settling in for the show.
The performances began with a solo set by organizer Michael Bauer. Seated behind a folding table covered in equipment, bathed in pink light, Bauer employed a laptop, synthesizer, the occasional recorder or tambourine, alongside his own vocals, mumbled and distorted. His voice transformed into noise, vacillating between sheer nonsense and a carefully spoken language one couldn’t understand. The sounds combined were droning and meditative. Closing my eyes I could imagine wandering through a large empty, building with conversation and din filling every corner, but just out of reach.
SSPS was up next. Standing alone with his back to the crowd, guitar around his neck, his performance was solitary and focused. Alternating between a bold stance with steady, cutting strokes on the guitar, and hunching over to carefully manipulate his output on the mixer, his presence was at once both distant and engaging, like watching a rock star play to an out of sight crowd from backstage. As he started to sing we noticed his microphone was positioned under a small, rotating table fan (earlier used to cool down the space), adding another layer of off-the-cuff depth.
The last performance of the night felt the most performative and choreographed, bridging the gap between separate practices. MV Carbon is an interdisciplinary artist who uses performance, installation, and sound in her work, and on this evening she moved seamlessly between keyboard, gong, and non traditional music objects that I couldn’t quite identify, layering each to create the rich sound of a full band. She grabbed the mic and an intense, electrifying voice poured over the room, unsettling the carefully poised composition.
The show ended and we spilled out onto Eldridge Street into the warm fall night. I could feel my earlier excitement from the Barney show returning, but this time it was a more sustainable energy, like the beginning of something urgent and necessary, not merely a comparative admonition from the past. It was an event that gave reprieve to my season opening anxiety and it’s growing list of obligations. It reminded me that, while it’s easy to get lost in the mass and scale of the New York art scene where experiencing art can sometimes feel like a chore, it’s important to connect with your community, and to experience art for it’s own sake.