MOMMA | September 5 - 20, 2015 | Rothman's Gallery, Southold, NY
Servane Mary / Virginia Overton / John Miller and Richard Hoec / Olivier Mosset / Michel Auder with text by Bob Nickas

MOMMA
Servane Mary / Virginia Overton / John Miller and Richard Hoec / Olivier Mosset / Michel Auder with text by Bob Nickas
Exhibition dates: September 5-20, 2015
Rothman's Gallery "ART", 54100 Route 25, Main Street, Southold, NY 11971
Opening reception September 5, 6-8pm with live music. Closing reception September 19, 6-8 pm, with live music.

MoMA vs. MOMMA
(you decide)
Spelled with a capital M, a lowercase o, another big M and a big A, MoMA is an acronym for the Museum of Modern Art, in New York.
An acronym? Some would say that MoMA is an anachronism.
An anachronism is the representation of something as existing or happening other than at its proper or historical time.
Since the arrival of the post-modern, isn't contemporary art post-MoMA?
MOMMA, spelled in all capital letters, and with an additional M, is an acronym that stands for the names of five artists who are showing at Rothman's Gallery in Southold, with never-before seen or recent works.
The artists are:
Servane Mary, Virginia Overton, Olivier Mosset, John Miller, and Michel Auder.
These artists know and respect one another. This is not the first time they have shown together, in various combinations, and it will not be the last. They are fellow travelers in a sense, whether on motorcycle, in a pick-up truck, or even a Ford Galaxy. This car from a half century ago is not anachronistic. It is a time machine.
Moving through time and space is not something MoMA does well. It is an institution with bureaucracy and departments, a board of directors, a structure which does not lend itself to fluidity. A boulder cannot be skipped across the water like a stone.
MOMMA, on the other hand, is entirely flexible because it is comprised of individuals, and a small number, each with ideas of their own, for better or worse. Artists and museums are hugely divergent in terms of rules: Artists tend to make them only so they can break them. Never underestimate the human element to keep things unpredictable.
MoMA, acrynomically speaking, has stood for other things in the past. The Museum of Male Art (even in the years after women's liberation, and still today). The Museum of Marina Abramovic. The Museum of Mediocre Abstraction (at least since the painting show last December, though maybe not as bad as we first thought). Some of us may wonder: how alive is the museum anyway? Yayoi Kusama once called it the Mausoleum of Modern Art.
It costs $25 to visit MoMA, and you have to wait on a long line of tourists. Seniors and students pay a reduced price, $18 and $14 respectively, but for those on fixed incomes, and students tuition-gouged by schools like Columbia and New York University, that's still a lot of money. Selling admission tickets at this museum is a major priority. The MOMMA show is free to everyone, and will mostly be visited by locals. At MOMMA, no tours will be conducted in a parody German accent.

At MoMA the works are not for sale. They do, in their gift shop, sell things like a Basquiat skateboard triptych for $500. These are actually only skate decks. There are no wheels, a sign of the museum's lack of mobility, not to mention their lack of a painting by this artist in their collection. They also carry a Jeff Koons "Elephant Plate." These are a mere $475. Consider this before you accidentally drop them on the floor. The MoMA shop used to have much better things, like a 500-piece Jackson Pollock jigsaw puzzle. Those were the days.
At MOMMA the works are for sale but it's unlikely that many will come to buy them. Art collectors have not ruined the North Fork the way they trampled all over the other side of the island. Luckily we have no hipster-retardo surf scene. (Did Lisa Spellman just steal my wave?) Things are quieter in these parts. People and places have been here longer than last week. This show is being presented in part of the old Rothman's department store, which has been on Main Road in Southold for more than 95 years. Next door is Rothman's Guitars, where vintage guitars, banjos and other musical instruments are sold, and now they've set up this performance and gallery space.
And what are the works being exhibited in MOMMA?
Servane Mary is showing new photo silkscreened pieces with Western imagery. In one, the image of a cowgirl sitting above a corral is framed as if by the weathered wood of the fence that she's on. In another, pistols displayed on wall-mounted pegboard have been printed on a sheet of pegboard. The image and its support are reciprocal.
Virginia Overton will have a number of pieces that relate to the movement of vehicles and images—a truck decal affixed to the window of the space, as if it was a windshield; a vinyl mud flap from a trailer truck, printed in pink with an illustration of a pin-up girl. ("Watch out—curves ahead.") Some of Virginia's works will be improvised on site, one of her preferred ways of working.
Olivier Mosset has often incorporated "found abstraction" in his practice, and here he will be showing burlap bags that were previously printed with a black X, bags used to collect oysters. He will also exhibit one of his motorcycles, a late '70s Shovelhead, which he had shipped from Arizona so he could ride it on the North Fork.
John Miller will premiere a short video made with Richard Hoeck, the latest of their mannequin collaborations, appropriate to a space that once housed a department store. Typical of Miller and Hoeck's work, this video has an absurdist poignancy, as they manage to wrench comedy from the edge of despair.
Michel Auder is also showing a new video for the first time. Titled Behind The Glass Door, it features an especially memorable image: leaves seemingly flutter and lift off the ground, and then you realize it's a cluster of butterflies. They come together and move apart, a curious sort of figure/ground relationship that is in some ways similar to how artists will assemble in these fluctuating groups, and at the same time maintain their own identity and independence.
When you've visited the exhibitions at MoMA you can go next door to their renowned restaurant, The Modern, where a four-course lunch is offered for $86. And if the shows at the museum are in any way disappointing, rest assured, the food here is always excellent.
After seeing the MOMMA show, it's a short drive to nearby Aquebogue where, on Route 25, The Modern Snack Bar has been taking care its neighbors and passersby since 1950. Lobster salad is $19.95, and a slice of homemade strawberry rhubarb pie is $3.45.

Exhibition text by Bob Nickas