Not every show is worth a special trip. But “Real Corporeal,” an ambitious exhibition organized by Gladstone Gallery in the former home of Gavin Brown’s enterprise in Harlem, justifies a commute. Helmed by London curator Ben Broome, the show brings together works by an intergenerational cast of artists in a variety of media, all concerned with re-asserting the body’s presence in the gallery space.
As anyone who’s ever had to use the restroom at an art show might know, white cubes are meant mostly for the mind and eyes. But a robust performance program accompanying the show aims to pack bodies into the gallery, where visitors will be surrounded by 30 works from artists with conversant practices.
“If one is to conceptualize the exhibition as a family gathering, the aunts and uncles are seated interspersed amongst the younger cousins,” the press statement reads. The young artist Klein has a work, cheekily titled (2022), alongside a contribution by her mentor, artist Mark Leckey. Sara Sadik’s moving images are kindred with those of Cyprien Gaillard.
Those who come to see Arthur Jafa’s latest, (2021), may stay for Tommy Malekoff’s (2019), a 15-minute video of strange spectacle that contrasts car tires with fireworks. Also on view are figurative paintings by sought-after artists Chase Hall, Pol Taburet, Amanda Ba, and George Rouy.
Broome told Arnet News that the massive Harlem space was a natural fit for “Real Corporeal”: “It’s an incredible gallery for showing art—there’s nothing else like that monastic top floor in New York City.” But the architecture is but one of many entry points.
Broome maintains there’s no single “best spot” to understand “Real Corporeal” from—except the mind, counterintuitively, “when you’re on the train home thinking anxiously about whether Klein’s work applies to you.”
Or, better yet, catch a performance. Gladstone recently hosted Chassol on September 24, and Slauson Malone 1 on September 26. Keep your eyes on the gallery’s Instagram for future announcements, including a yet-to-be-revealed performance from Joan Jonas, the eldest artist in the show.
“Without her,” Brooke said, “I wonder how many of these artists would be here.”