I saw Alex Hubbard’s exhibition at Maccarone back in May, buy only now in mid-June do I have the time to consider what I saw. Hubbard took advantage of Maccarone’s size and multiple galleries to present two separate sets of work “Magical Ramón” and “The Five Bar Blues.”
I didn’t care for the work making up “Magical Ramón” and I particularly disliked the “bent paintings.” The bent paintings are solid colors of polyurethane hanging off the wall or laying on the ground. I could consider the formal qualities of these things… the colors, shapes and the fact that they are likely work intensive, but I consider them toxic and boring.
“The Five Bar Blues” on the other hand are brilliant! Meticulously constructed sections of life-size dive bars installed into shipping crates! The bars were filled with liquor. I asked the attendant of the sculptures were interactive, she said yes, and the friend I was with dived right into the Hennessy. Besides the brilliance of drinking stations fitted into art crates, each bar can only fit one person and is modeled after dive bars with iconic elements such as the steel black gate and blue neon or alternately the wooden saloon half doors with wood paneling interior and Budweiser sign and both with drop ceilings.
The fact that there is only space for one person evokes Hopper’s Nighthawks and a host of other impressions – bars that open at 6am where lonely people might spend the day and afternoon…
Over the years, I’ve known any number of artists who wish they owned a bar or hope to one day open up their own bar, Alex Hubbard has found a great alternative… build a little bar into a crate, stock it with liquor and place it in a gallery!