The Lower East Side, Home to the Young and Emerging

Published: December 4, 2009
You don’t have to be young to be an emerging artist. Some languish in purgatorial emergence for decades, despite the high quality of their work. Erik Hanson has been toiling under the radar for some 20 years and now has a good exhibition at Sunday L.E.S. Mr. Hanson creates paintings and sculptures relating to his musical interests, which include the Velvet Underground and disco. A set of Pop-Surrealist sculptures representing white birch logs have butt-ends fashioned to resemble vinyl records. A series of canvases bearing spirals thickly painted Alfred Jensen-style is titled “Eurodisco.” It is an infectiously upbeat show.

ART IN REVIEW; Erik Hanson
Published: May 18, 2001
Derek Eller Gallery
526-530 West 25th Street, Chelsea
Through tomorrow
In Erik Hanson's quest to give visual form to his listening pleasure -- call it rock 'n' roll Conceptualism -- his earliest efforts still seem to be the best. In his second gallery show, this means the group of a dozen small photographs he made in 1998 by opening a camera's shutter for the duration of each song on the Sex Pistols' first album. It also means a companion work of tiny, somewhat digital-looking needlepoint squares: translations of the photographs' grisaille smokiness.
These slightly arcane, loopily obsessive works belong less to the history of music-inspired abstraction (see Kandinsky) than to the lost tradition of ''spirit'' photographs. They offer tangible proof that music is atmosphere -- reverie -- as well as sound.
Mr. Hanson's newer works are formally more ambitious, but they lack the poetic reciprocity between inspiration and results. A suite of 16 drawings on layered sheets of vellum (made to the tunes of Mr. Hanson's favorite albums by Roxy Music, David Bowie, the Pet Shop Boys and Queen) are too raw and uninflected to be visually interesting; forget that their use of music boggles comprehension. Even more abstruse are two sculptures distinguished by brightly painted sticks or cones, each whittled for the duration of a song by Kraftwerk or the Pet Shop Boys, which have the feel-good funkiness of Ree Morton's work from the 1970's.
A large single-sheet drawing on vellum is more promising: in row upon row of small images, it depicts 69 matchbooks, each made during, and labeled with, one of the songs on the Magnetic Fields' ''69 Love Songs,'' a triple CD. The drawing suggests that intimate scale, careful handiwork and some weird, transmuted realism are still basic to Mr. Hanson's efforts, and it revives the air of lonely-hearts-club reverie. ROBERTA SMITH

Published: July 23, 1999
ERIK HANSON, Derek Eller, 529 West 20th Street, (212) 206-6411 (through July 30). Mr. Hanson draws on his background as a Minneapolis punk rock D.J. to make pencil doodles in which elements are systematically labeled with song titles by famous rock groups. For a series of Donald Judd-style ''caves,'' the artist installed colored plaster stalagmites and stalactites between plywood boards. This work is pretty slight but charming nevertheless (Johnson).

Published: July 24, 1998
''SENSAROUND,'' Pamela Auchincloss, 601 West 26th Street, (212) 727-2845 (through Sept 19; by appointment in August). More conceptual than sensual, this six-person show presents variously clever and/or oblique approaches to the five doorways of perception. It includes Alyosha Blau and Thorsten Tenberken's potted plant equipped with a little speaker making jungle noises; a picture by Spencer Finch called ''Mist,'' which consists of sheer white fabric on white stretchers, and Erik Hanson's abstract representations of perfume in clay, photography and needlepoint (Johnson).

Published: November 14, 1997
SEONG CHUN AND ERIK HANSON, Esso Gallery, 191 Chrystie Street, Lower East Side, (212) 714-8192 (through tomorrow). Two whisper-soft shows of text- and process-based art. Ms. Chun cuts literary texts (in this case, Iris Murdoch and Plato, both writing on the subject of art) into thin strips that she crochets into leaf-shaped forms, a cloudlike tangle and lovely suspended panels. Mr. Hanson moves from the invisible to the solid: he opens perfume bottles, photographs the scent (the picture is, of course, blank), makes needlepoint designs based on the scent's patterns, then turns the patterns into a weird green sculpture. He also photographs music and does drawings based on the grooves on a David Bowie album. The two shows -- wry, hands-on -- are temperamentally different but work nicely together (Cotter).

Art in Review
Published: July 4, 1997
'I Met a Man Who Wasn't There . . .'
Basilico Fine Arts
26 Wooster Street
Through July 11
The tension between what the eye sees and the mind fills in, essential to most art experiences, drives this strange little show, which takes invisibility as its theme. The invisible comes in many forms, most of them understandably elusive, several of them charged with a sense of remembrance or loss.
Marti Llorens contributes three poignant photographs of old buildings being demolished in Barcelona to make way for the 1992 Summer Olympics. His images have a vintage, turn-of-the-century look, so there's a slight jolt in realizing that they're less than a decade old. Linda Levinson photographs the cryptic information written on the reverse of found snapshots -- ''Mother,'' ''I'm in the Shade'' and ''This Is Self-Explanatory'' -- causing one to muse about the image that should be on the other side but isn't.
Erik Hanson attempts to make visually manifest the sounds of his favorite rock music by pointing a camera at the speakers and leaving the lens open for the duration of certain albums, with suitably blurry results. Francis Cape builds one of his crisply new yet subtly old-fashioned paneled walls into the gallery, an addition that refers obliquely to SoHo's 19th-century architecture while suggesting shutters and cupboard doors that, lacking handles, can never be opened.
The show is full of such conundrums, elegantly wavering between the tangible and the ephemeral. They may not always satisfy the eye, but they set the mind ricocheting back and forth between the other senses with remarkable efficiency. ROBERTA SMITH