Curated by Alex Meurice
Foreign & Domestic Gallery
24 Rutgers Street
Through October 22
On a warm September evening, a crowd amassed at Foreign & Domestic Gallery not far from Dimes Square in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. New York City art week enthusiasts bore the late summer heat to see After Lives, a group show featuring never before seen models, collages, and drawings by Lee Brozgol, Genevieve Goffman, Gryphon Rue, and Bob Smith.
At After Lives, none of the participants are architects, but each of the installations are indeed architectural. What threads each art work together is the way in which architecture is used to frame dramatic vignettes of life in New York City. Some pieces are physical operettas that focus on heart break, melancholy, and loneliness while others are playfully absurdist drawings on paper.
Out of the four participants, only Goffman and Rue were able to attend the opening. Lee Brozgol, a multimedia artist slash social worker from the Lower East Side, passed in 2021. Tribeca artist Bob Smith died from HIV/AIDS in 1990. “One of the things I was interested in was showing artists from different generations,” said Alex Meurice, Foreign & Domestic Gallery’s founder and chief curator. “Even though some of these pieces were made almost fifty years ago, when they’re juxtaposed alongside new works, they almost feel contemporary,” he told AN.
Smith’s piece I Got Your Letter – Thanks A lot from 1984 had never been displayed in a gallery before. Rather, Smith’s large wooden diorama partially coated with porcelain tiles and an Ives Klein blue had sat dormant in his Tribeca loft for decades until the evening of September 6 when the public was invited have a look see. Smith’s estate manager and long time friend Danielle Tilkin kindly offered his piece to the gallery for display.
Work by Lee Brozgol consisted of portraits of individuals from New York City’s five boroughs. In the early 2000s, Brozgol scoured The Village Voice classifieds section to choose his subjects from Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. After finding someone with an interesting story, Brozgol would interview them about relationships, and their hopes and dreams. Using this data, Brozgol assembled playful portraitures of his subjects rendered in graphite on paper and gouache.
When he was with her and I was alone by contemporary artist Genevieve Goffman is an “allegorical digital universe” made of 3D-printed resin with a blue tint. “I don’t make a lot of personal work, but this piece is about when I first moved to New York and I didn’t know very many people here,” Goffman told AN. Goffman’s piece is a slice of a brick-and-mortar Bushwick apartment building where she once lived. At the upper level, an anthropomorphized cat appears bent over looking out a window below a couple on a secret rendezvous situated on the roof scape. Fictional curtains adorn the facade to remind viewers what they’re looking at is fantasy.
For Goffman, the piece draws upon memory. “It’s about me wanting to hang out with my boy friend at the time who I found later had been cheating on me,” she said. “So this piece is sort of my architectural response to this feeling of isolation I had when I found out. It’s about being alone in your apartment in New York City when everyone else is out having fun,” she continued. Goffman’s piece on display at Foreign & Domestic Gallery is one of six models she made in a series; others are on display at MAK Vienna, while others are in Paris.
After completing an MFA at Yale, Goffman’s work references architectural history, Renaissance art, fantasy novels, video game lore, and internet aesthetics. Her work on display in Vienna revisits the modernist architect Adolf Loos and his treatment of “interiors and exteriors, masculine minimalism and feminized ‘ornament’.”
Foreign & Domestic Gallery first opened in 2022. Its gallerist Alex Meurice has hosted solo exhibitions there by European artists Ittah Yoda, Nicholas William Johnson, and Egle Jauncems, and New York artist Greg Carideo. After Lives builds off of a previous show in West London by Meurice titled European, Foreign & Domestic.
After Lives is on display through October 22.