If you think art galleries are all about postcard-perfect paintings, think again. How about zombies, wisecracking dolls and an artifact from that epoch known as Before Cellphones -- the phone booth?
You'll find these curiosities and more at Long Island art galleries or studios. Here's a peek inside.
'Phone Booth Kaleidoscope Project'
Glasswork artist Kathy Seff recently presented "Glas," a solo exhibition at ArtSpace Patchogue, downstairs from the loft apartments she and fellow local artists call home. Among the pieces in Seff's first solo show was a Skeeball backboard -- where the ball drops through in the beach arcade game -- reconfigured into a mirror. In another colorful creation, Seff soldered glass into the spokes of a bike wheel. But a phone booth she bought from a collector who insisted on keeping its original rotary-dial phone drew the most attention. With dozens of pieces of colored glass, Seff turned the booth with a replacement phone into a walk-in kaleidoscope.
"I had to post instructions on how to open the door," says Seff. "People are either too young to remember phone booths or they forgot how they work."
"Glas" closed last weekend to make way for another resident-artist's show. But you can still see "The Phone Booth Kaleidoscope Project" as well as Seff's "Mosaic Skeeball Mirror" and bike-part sculptures through Dec. 31 at the aptly named Colorful Visions Art Glass Studio, which Seff shares with her artist mom, Sandy.
"My intention," Seff says, "was to let people experience and be surrounded by the refracting and reflecting characteristics of glass colors and textures." But bring your cellphone if you want to make a call.
'Impressionism Is Not Dead'
INFO 631-239-1805, ripeartgal.com
Cherie Via, owner of Greenlawn's Ripe Art Gallery, met Anthony Zummo at Hit the Lights, an Islip Art Museum networking event. "He was definitely zombie-obsessed," she recalls. After checking out his work on Facebook, Via invited Zummo to mount a show in her gallery, which turned into two shows -- upstairs and down.
In his mock Impressionist show, Zummo re-creates iconic paintings with undead zombies supplanting humans. "It's a commentary on the dumbing down of what passes for culture these days," says the Sayville artist. "Reality TV taking over Bravo and A&E, for example." Among the masterpieces Zummo repopulates with zombies are Renoir's "Boating Party" and Seurat's "A Sunday at La Grande Jatte."
In his "Handle With Care" exhibit, Zummo reminds us of how close the world has come to nuclear annihilation for the banal reason that, as he says, "Mistakes happen." A triptych depicts the Manhattan Project, Los Alamos' first test blast and an obliterated Nagasaki church. "Not Dead" is open through Friday, "Handle With Care" until Nov. 1.
WHEN|WHERE 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 10 a.m.-
4 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 18 at Silas Marder Gallery, 120 Snake Hollow Rd., Bridgehampton
INFO 631-702-2306, silasmarder.com
Silas Marder's eponymous Bridgehampton gallery sometimes showcases off-the-wall art on its barn walls. But "Bad Jokes" blends Daumier, Goya and Breugel lithographs with local contemporary pieces. Curated by his brother, Tucker, the show, Marder says, "takes a satirical look at human behavior and altered states": Mike Kelley's shaggy "Little Friend," for instance, with its motion-activated doll voice randomly spewing such lines as "That's disgusting!" There's also a "Bad Jokes" puppet show and a video projected after dark on the broadside of the barn's exterior. "Suicide Stack" is a rolling transcript of Joseph Stack's suicide note written before he crashed his plane into the Austin, Texas, IRS office. Some joke.