[February 11 2016]
Sometimes while walking on the streets of LA, one stumbles across doors leading to sparsely decorated spaces intended for displaced parishes. These rooms, if not unremarkable, are mostly scantily clad with standard-issue foldable chairs and tables, intended (surely) to counter delivered souls with the Third Kind through home-made rice krispie squares and cold cuts. At 356 Mission, however, Susan Cianciolo (with a congregation consisting of, for example, the bicoastal fashion-cum-art acolytes of Eckhaus Latta, NYC high priestess Chloe Sevigny and the artist’s grandmother) has her tables laden with cardboard ‘kits’ for viewers to observe and connect from. During the opening, cherubim-faced disciples (or gallery assistants), shrouded in veils and long tunics, sat carefully picking items from the kits to offer viewers closer looks at their variable contents, prompting questions and inquiries from a cocktail-anointed crowd. Though Cianciolo shrouds her project in an enigmatic lack of information, the exhibition’s thematic title, “Though I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not Love, I am nothing” ‘Corinthians’, gives way, consolidating what was left unsaid in the blatantly obvious. That the art world acts in pious congregation is hardly new to those whom have watched it for a while, and its ironic restaging as a nativity scene with socks, fabric samples and quilts feels like an interpellation from fashion come a decade late. However, sometimes the Word takes time to travel, and—stepping off art’s high horse for just one second to listen to it—maybe Cianciolo’s is a humbling lesson suggesting that we should pay more attention to what is in front of us. After all, love is patient and kind and all that, even if art isn’t (at least all of the time).
Text and photo Sabrina Tarasoff