On the wood-framed doorway of the gallery Untitled, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, hangs a mezuzah. It’s small, unassuming, something you wouldn’t necessarily notice if not for the title of the exhibition inside: “Jew York.” But it turns out that the mezuzah wasn’t installed for the show; it’s been there for years, since before the gallery moved into the space — only now its presence is more appropriate than ever. New York Jewish cultural identity is inexorably tied to the Lower East Side, so the location is a natural fit. Organized by Untitled and by Zach Feuer’s eponymous gallery in Chelsea and split between the two, the jam-packed survey exhibition features works by nearly 90 artists.
Beyond the mezuzah at Untitled reside pieces by such stalwart names as Sol LeWitt, Marc Chagall, Alex Katz, Diane Arbus and Leon Golub, along with contemporary standouts, including Mika Rottenberg, Jon Rafman, Judith Braun, Betty Tompkins and Lisa Oppenheim. Some of these pieces are excellent, but nearly all the work is two dimensional, the majority of it hung at a uniform height around the walls of the back room. It is, in a word, boring.