Galleria: ‘Metamorphosis, Meat Packing District’ by Brian Rose @ Dillon Gallery

ws034_1985Is there any street name in Manhattan more intimate-sounding than Little West 12th? I would venture to say that there is not. And yet, Little West 12th Street has been up to some mighty corporate things lately – part of a thriving vicinity where green grocers have been gobbled up by Hugo Boss, corner stores by no-name nightclubs. This particular stretch of Lower West once ran mild with nostalgia, one of the few remaining pockets where one could go for peace and quiet. Slow-walking frame-by-frame through Brian Rose’s Metamorphosis, it’s difficult not to long for the romanticism of that period. Brick warehouses, rotting fence posts, white box trucks where the gays would get it on for fear of beatings. To look at how and why it’s changed, well, it hurts so much you ache for more.

Brian Rose has done the same for the Lower West Side with Metamorphosis that he and Edward Fausty previously did for the Lower East via Time & Space. Both exhibits ooze sweet melancholia, reminiscent of a scene from Season One of Mad Men during which department store heiress Rachel Menken explains: “Utopia – the Greeks had two meanings for it: eu-topos, meaning ‘the good place,’ and ou-topos, meaning ‘the place that cannot be.'” Time and again, Brian Rose has done an exemplary job of negotiating a 30-year difference between the two.

(Metamorphosis continues at the Dillon Gallery through August 15th, Free, 555 West 25th Street.)

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