Fifteen, twenty years ago, if someone asked you to go downtown to the Bowery to see an exhibition at a place called The Hole, you would be forgiven if the invitation gave you pause. Today, of course, things are different–WAY different–on NYC's one-time Skid Row, as time has given way to luxury highrise manhattan apartment and condo developments, high-end clothing stores, scads of excellent restaurants, and a burgeoning lower Manhattan art gallery scene…including the aforementioned Hole. But even though the Bowery neighborhood has gotten a lot less wild, The Hole doesn't do bland art. Witness E.V. Day and Kembra Pfahler's jaw-dropping collaboration, Giverny, Monet's garden and muse.
Photography Like Classic Claude Monet Paintings With a Twist: Kembra Pfahler
The story is this: in 2010 artist/designer E.V. Day was awarded the opportunity to live at Giverny, the famous estate of Claude Monet's garden, which the great impressionist used as his muse for many of his most iconic paintings. Not surprisingly, Day was also inspired by Giverny's grounds, and so enlisted Kembra Pfahler to don her signature performance garb–bright body paint, bondage-y boots, crazy black wig–and come pose for photographs in the Monet's garden at its August peak. And THEN, best of all for downtown NYC gallery-goers in the Barclay & Tribeca Bridge Towers, the Hole convinced Playboy to foot the bill! They recreated the Monet garden Giverny within their Bowery space, the better to show off E.V. Day's photographs, complete with live flowers, gravel pathways, and signature green bowed bridge.
The result of all E.V. Day, Kembra Pfahler, and The Hole's efforts is a true art-show spectacle, and certainly the most fecund lower Manhattan exhibition we've seen…well, maybe ever. As sensational as the paintings by Monet, the photographs themselves are terrific, with Kembra Pfahler looking like some sort of insane neon-pink flower amid the botanical explosion of Monet's garden. But it's the transformation of space itself that really makes this an exhibition worth going out of your way for (or combine it with a visit to the New Museum, or a movie at the Sunshine, or a meal at any number of the first-rate restaurants within a few blocks of the Hole). Adding to the other-worldliness of the show: E.V. Day commissioned an artist to stand at-easel during Giverny's run, and paint the lush landscape. Great fun, all of it.
Experience "Giverny" by E.V. Day & Kembra Pfahler The Hole
E.V. Day and Kembra Pfahler's Giverny will be at the Hole through April 24. The Hole is located on Bowery between Houston and Bleecker Streets, and is open Tuesday through Saturaday from 12:00 noon until 7:00 p.m.