Michelle and I visited an exhibition of Peyton Freiman at the Lower East Side Shin Gallery. Worth a serious look.
by Peter Plagens
322 Grand St., (212) 375-1735
Through Sept. 10
Peyton Freiman (b. 1983) is either an impressive multitalent, a bit of an operator, or some of both. A Tennessean migrated to Brooklyn, Mr. Freiman is a writer whose words have appeared in the hiply slick the Wild magazine, and an actor appearing in an Austin, Texas-based web series called "Master Class." On screen, Mr. Freiman is mock-nerdy and personable, a mere thorn or two away from qualifying to host "The Daily Show" should Trevor Noah falter. Here, he's a painter-installationist of not inconsiderable ability.
Mr. Freiman's immediately previous offering was a seven-hour exhibition, "Stoned Summer," in a Williamsburg design studio, at which the first 20 people who showed up received "a special gift." The artist has a thing for stoner-surfer culture (or at least a patronizing idea of it -- his website statement says he paints "white stoners without a clue") and has, perforce, covered the gallery floor with beachy sand and plopped in the middle of it the ersatz ruins of a campfire festooned with empty beer cans and plastic cups.
The irony is that Mr. Freiman's faux-street-art paintings -- a colorful cross between punk travel posters and covers for the New Yorker -- are actually pretty good: crisp, bouncy and graphically inventive, even if a bit overstuffed with hand-printed labels. If Mr. Freiman has not yet made a final career choice, visual artist should still be in the running.