Alongside owning and operating the well-known downtown venue Santo’s Party House, Spencer Sweeney divides his time among music, visual arts, and event promotion. Accordingly, his current show at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, The Pharaoh’s Lounge, explores the intersection of these interests, with a show that blurs the lines between art installation, night club, and, quite literally, a hookah lounge. Dara Friedman also presents separately a black and white film, The Dancer, in an additional space of the gallery.
The first space of Gavin Brown’s enterprise is lined with painted posters for past events at Sweeney’s ‘Party House,’ promoting bands and including other show information. Into the next gallery another steady row of work hangs, though more varying in size and content, ranging from a large dancer to smaller more abstract paintings. A large plush gold pyramid rises in the center, inviting visitors to sit and relax.
Aside from the pyramid, a freestanding “Lounge” features a fully functioning sauna on ground level, with a small hookah bar atop its wooden frame. Guests are invited to use both of these, though the sauna has reportedly been underutilized. The interactive two-story Lounge, and couch-like golden pyramid, challenge the nature of the gallery space, recontextualizing the concepts of art, music, and live events within relatively traditional frameworks.
Technically a separate show, Dara Friedman’s The Dancer adds an additional layer of media, a black and white 16 mm film playing in the darkened third space of the gallery. Following dancers—and their motives—making use of street signs and lights throughout public spaces in Miami, “It is a film about movement.”
- D. Creahan