You may mistake the wild array of gently used objects—empty liquor bottles, stacks of records, a bare-bulb lamp with a collar of metal wires and plenty more—positioned just so on a roughly 8-by-10-foot expanse of beige carpeting at this tony boutique, as your cool, weird uncle’s storage space (or his time-traveled dorm room), but it is actually a single work by Austin-based bricoleur Andy Coolquitt, presented in conjunction with his New York dealer, Lisa Cooley, whose gallery is just down the block. (One of his signature columns of Bic lighters—gritty elegance, ingeniously wrought—that is propped near one of the scene’s Plexiglas walls, is the tell.)
Like the piece itself, its title verges on excess: no I didn’t go to any museums here I hate museums museums are just stores that charge you to come in there are lots of free museums here but they have names like real stores (2012). And as with so many of Mr. Coolquitt’s shabbily chic sculptures, the ramshackle assemblage at first baffles. But then you begin to notice how he situates tasteful, recognizable items (pipes, a wood plank) next to those with clear but unnamable functions (a golf club-like tool, some curiously shaped pedestals) and total mysteries (a drippy, waxy sculpture), inviting you to construct endless, individual constellations of narratives, and to experience the entire built world as uncanny and truly strange.
(Through March 9, 2014) —A.R.