Suspending Reality

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Burning Man collaborative art comes to Wan-Der-Lust

By Elena Oumano

The six artists behind "Wan-Der-Lust," a month-long, (now through May 15), mixed-media pop-up exhibit on the ground floor of 72 Wooster Street, announces its mission in a black painted scrawl over the entrance:

"Wanderlust is about the primal impulse for exploration. The work assembled expresses a freedom pulsing through the body blood.

The collective narrative in this exhibition is informed by journeys unknown; inspired by the moment. The work is meant to inspire a state of constant flow and transformation. Through these works on paper, canvas, photography, sculpture and furniture, we express the human craving for discovery.

Welcome to Wanderlust. We invite you to suspend in your reality."

Since art of necessity involves exploration, transformation, and discovery, perhaps more to the point is photographer Peter Ruprecht's observation that this show embodies the "Burning Man ethos of collaboration brought into the real world." Photographers Reka Nyari and Ruprecht; artists Jody Levy and Arten Mirolevich; sculptors/furniture makers Dara Young and Yarrow Mazzetti; along with Harlan Berger of Centaur Properties, the developer hosting "Wan-Der-Lust" before 72 Wooster is sold, met at Burning Man and formed a camp that creates art alongside others as part of the pop-up community that takes over Nevada's Black Rock desert every year. Over the course of a few weeks, they've transformed a rough, rubble-strewn NYC space lacking electricity into a gallery in order to showcase the individual works that often bear traces of each other's fortuitous interference.

All the contributors here evidence imagination and skill, but Ruprecht and Mazzetti show the strongest.

Mazzetti's powerfully authentic heart of pine and stainless steel furniture includes a sleekly gorgeous dining table and a chest with 5 theme drawers, each crammed with objects and opening to a flood of music.

Ruprecht, a former Olympic skier and financial consultant who's untrained in photography, first bought a camera in 2006 and a few years later, had a billboard looming over Times Square. His richly-colored, high contrast images are not framed. Instead, Mazzetti's aluminum backings extend the images' space beyond four corners, underscoring their generosity and excitingly alive quality. A series of meticulously rendered etchings by Mirolevich, a visionary artist also working in water color, pen and ink here stands out as well. He's the only Wan-Der-Lust artist with professional representation, But galleries are currently circling Ruprecht. Three of his photos were snapped up at the opening night party attended by 2000 people gathered mostly by internet word-of-mouth-further evidence of Burning Man's infiltration into the real world.

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