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Curator Renée Riccardo was so enamored with the space architect Steven Holl designed for her new gallery that she assembled a show to honor it. “7 Walls, 8 Views,” a group exhibition at Arena (at 526 West 26th Street) through Feb. 8, features recent paintings, drawings, photographs and installations by Larry Bamburg, Meghan Gerety, Deborah Grant, Eric Hongisto, Marilyn Minter, Wangechi Mutu, Vargas-Suarez Universal and Ken Weaver.
Bamburg is responsible for the eighth view — a floor installation of snow mounds and puddles that Riccardo compares to “an icy lake.” But the walls of works by fashion-obsessed artists Minter and Mutu are far less serene.
Mutu, an African-born artist, clips glossy models from fashion magazines and collages them onto watercolors of animal bodies. “It relates to fashion but in a subversive way,” says Riccardo. As do Minter’s extreme close-ups of the made-up face — a glittered eye here, a black lacquered mouth there — that are equally subversive. “Fashion tells you what tribe you’re in,” says the artist, known for her paintings and photographs that examine the underbelly of glamour. Some of her images on display are outtakes from a fashion shoot with Devon Aoki that she snapped for Versace magazine.
“That shoot was my first commercial job,” she says. “An art director saw some of my work and thought I would be perfect. I did what I usually do for myself and now the fashion industry seems to be interested.” But Aoki wasn’t so pleased. “She kept spitting,” says Minter. “There was so much makeup on her mouth — Versace makeup — that it was a really unpleasant shoot for her. You can’t even tell it’s her in the pictures.”