This is an archive of the ArtCat Zine, 2007-2009. Please visit our new project, IDIOM.
"I love Mumbleboy!" That's not the kind of exclamation you would have heard from me before I met Hanna Fushihara Aron and her husband, the artist David Aron. Hanna's gallery, Little Cakes, cherishes the power held by all things gentle. In other words, everything I mistrust when it comes to art. And Mumbleboy? He's half of the duo known as Mumbreeze whose 2007 show at Little Cakes featured paper maché super heroes. This is not something I would have found immediately convincing had Hanna's curatorial tastes not already demonstrated the weight in whimsy so many times before.
DJ/musician Scott Mou introduced me to Hanna via email just after she had shut down the first incarnation of Little Cakes in her apartment on East 4th Street, but I didn't meet her until she opened version 2.0 on East 6th Street 2 years ago. With a justified trepidation built on too many years of seeing bad macrame fairy art by young wannabes in Williamsburg my fears were immediately erased by the work of Guillermina Baiguera and Julian Gatto. There were doilies and there were tea cups. But there were also intricate drawings and a sense of composition about the installation that let me know that whimsy could work, that it could have weight. The wonder was on.
That wonder hasn't let up in the two years of shows I've seen at the gallery, not least of which was David's Cords of the Easy Rescue last summer. Equal parts spiritual and playful, the exhibition of paintings, sculptures, and prints was a feast of accessibility. Everything was close. Besides the art being eminently affordable, the small paintings and prints made it an intimate affair. Their delicate nature and the nod to Buddhist symbols and temples nudged the viewer toward a comfortable attentiveness. I left the gallery feeling the odd desire to go skateboarding with a monk.
Hanna's curating and David's art-making activities would fill the days of most people. However, Hanna has curated shows in Japan and San Francisco. Recently she took the helm for the perfectly titled Sticky, Messy, and Sweet at hpgrp gallery in the West Village. Beyond his time spent exploring the power in the delicate visual arts, David provides the back beat for the supple sounds of Koi Pond. While often thought of as being influenced by the extended workouts of Krautrock, it reminds me more of the soft driving passages that occasionally appear on King Crimson bootlegs.
So, like Fripp starting a song with massive wail, we'll go first to the bad news. The gallery is closing (For now!). Ugh. However, the good news is that you have one more weekend to take in the goodness that is Little Cakes. The even better news is that their last show is one of their best. Berkeley artists Evah Fan's and Brendan Monroe's solo and and collaborative works have all the hallmarks of a great LC show: solid composition, whimsy and weight, a sense of humor. But I found the most familiar element in myself, the catch in throat, the suspension of the moment, the temporary belief that the moment might hold.
But of course, it won't. Don't fret though. In all likelihood when Little Cakes makes their second return they'll garner even more press and fans than they did this time around. If being successful in the NYC art world means being able to step back every once in awhile, then Hanna and David's master plan is right on schedule. The message in their art and in Little Cakes always seems to be whispering, "It'll be ok." And for once, I believe it.