There’s something in the basement.
The start of 2016 has brought intriguing new exhibitions to SculptureCenter in Long Island City. On view are furniture-sculpture works by Jessi Reaves and “The Eccentrics,” an engaging group show in the center’s main ground-floor space. The latter draws from a term for Russian avant-garde circus performers and explores the beloved folkart form as a space wherein performers push physical limits within a perceived alternate reality. As if bringing our eyes and minds into the perspectives of the show’s subjects, a suspended work of metal pipes, wooden rings and a motor by Tori Wranes evokes sky-high circus rings. The rings sway back and forth in the middle of the space, also populated by works exploring such topics as magic, spirituality, clowns, magicians and acrobats.
But in your visit, be sure to head in the opposite direction, down into the basement. There you’ll find the first-ever solo institutional exhibition by Vancouver-born artist Rochelle Goldberg, titled “The Plastic Thirsty.” Ten new “sculptural topography” works by Goldberg, who now lives in New York City, are installed in the near catacomb-like basement galleries. One, “Thirsty Bucket,” is on the ground floor right next to stairs leading down to the rest.
The effect is at once compelling and eerie, with the same kind of impact as stumbling upon gems in a cave. There’s also an element of mystery and a kind of elusive wonder afoot. For example, one might easily miss “Original Spill,” a curiously glowing work of fiber optic cables, resin, ceramic, an LED illuminator and plastic that looks to be installed in a slim crevasse behind a wall.