Vincent Skeltis at 31 Grand

Vincent Skeltis Mel's Corral #58 2004 metal, incandescent bulbs, photograph, plexi-glas 48" x 48" x 9"

31 Grand's press release says that Vincent Skeltis's show, "Nowhere But Up," among other things, "explores the death of the American nuclear family." I suspect that the only thing which has really changed about that almost mythical societal arrangement is what photography can now do, in the hands of an artist, to tell us about it.

This particular family happens to be Skeltis's own. He has installed a haunting show of photographs and artifacts describing the parallel lives of a father who disappeared into dissipation when his son was four, and the son who by his own admission was well on the way toward destroying himself when their paths crossed twenty-one years later, only ten months before Vincent Skeltis, Sr. died.

It's a dizzying array of images, of men, women - and things - presented without sentimentality but also without any bitterness. Things happened, people remembered.

Art survives.

Barry and I were walking about Williamsburg with our friend Karen the evening the show opened, and had earlier run into two other friends visiting the same galeries we were. At 31 Grand I was still in something of a daze, struck by the honesty and the strength of what Skeltis had done, when Cory Arcangel and Noah Lyon came in with a mutual friend of their own, Alex Galloway. Cory really loved what he saw, and since I don't think I'd heard it before, I took his own tribute to the show, "This is like real art!" for high praise indeed. There was no argument.

Vincent Skeltis Nude Portrait of Amy 2003 C-print 40" x 30"

Vincent Skeltis All Things Considered 2003 framed photograph, pocket knife, cross, camera, music box/flask figurine, scissors, steel, plywood 23.75" x 19.5" x 6.75"

[image, "Nude Portrait of Amy," from 31 Grand]

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Published on February 27, 2005 4:43 PM.

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