Barry McGee is an artist who takes uncertainty and unpredictability as his guiding principles. Every exhibition is different. He arranges paintings, drawings, sculptures, found objects, and works by other artists into freely improvised installations that roam across the walls, floors, and ceilings of an exhibition space. In the past, his installations have featured everything from robotic graffiti writers to entire shipping containers and automobiles.
For his new show at Cheim & Read, McGee has assembled hundreds of artworks and objects into an installation that is at once boisterous and fluid. The gallery’s compact “dome room,” facing the entrance foyer, is outfitted with shelves and pedestals holding dozens of painted ceramics, including a totem-like stack of vessels covered in geometric patterns. Paintings on scrap wood, cardboard, and canvas hang on the walls or sit on the floor, while a spray-painted banner, reading “Do Your Part for the Resistance,” and an enormous black-and-white photograph dominate the upper portions of the space.