“Everyone’s pissed in there because people are dancing to punk rock,” said a frustrated slam dancer standing outside of Envoy Enterprises gallery on Rivington Street last night. Brooklyn band Raspberry Bulbs was grinding through a mangled but ratchet-tight set a floor below, at Macie Gransion — part of the opening of “Dull The Will,” a solo exhibition by Brooklyn painter Kelsey Henderson.
The crowd, including several local musicians and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, resembled a typical Wierd party more than a downtown art opening: instead of wine sippers recalling their one brush with Basquiat in the ’80s, boys in black occasionally bashed bodies up front during the Bulbs set. Though many swigged tallboys and chain smoked well past the 8 p.m. closing time and later headed to an afterparty at Williamsburg’s Over the Eight, things were mostly tame: upstairs, people congregated around Henderson’s hallucinogenic oil painting recreations of found and personal photographs.“It got the very crowd the work was intended to relate to there and I think having added those people added to the show well on a visual level,” Henderson said of the band’s reception. “I also think having the band play captured the appropriate energy the show needed to have.”
Discolored T-shirts decorated with the show’s title were folded and stacked below the show’s one outlier: a collection of photographs, newspaper clippings, and personal objects tacked to the wall. With its handwritten notes and scrapbook feel, it proved to be one of the most trafficked walls of the show. Viewers spent time taking in every nuance, enjoying a meditative break in the room-hopping, beer-soaked action.“I felt like there needed to be something to break the images up even more — in the same way that having a band play was going to shift the energy of the experience,” Henderson commented about the mixed media piece. “It gives further context to the work that offsets things into questioning the reality of all the images in the paintings.”