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The Sweet Spot: Chris Sharp, Andrew Berardini Prep Fruit-Themed ‘Lulennial’ in Mexico City

Adriana Lara, Installation (Banana Peel), 2008.

PABLO LEÓN DE LA BARRA/COURTESY ERLING KAGGE COLLECTION

“After all the convoluted and controversial gravitas of the 2017 biennial/perennial exhibition season, what with the Whitney Biennial, Documenta, and Venice, we thought the circuit could use a little levity and comic relief,” curators Chris Sharp and Andrew Berardini write in the press release for the forthcoming group exhibition they have organized at Lulu, the gallery run by Sharp in Mexico City.

Amelie von Wulffen, Ohne Titel, 2015.

COURTESY THE ARTIST AND BARBARA WEISS, BERLIN

That show is the second edition of the space’s irregularly scheduled recurring exhibition Lulennial, and its subject is fruit. The affair’s official title is “The Lulennial II: A Low-Hanging Fruit,” and it features about two dozen artists, including Yuji Agematsu, Nancy Lupo, Erika Verzutti, and Allison Katz. There’s a solid contingent from Los Angeles, where Berardini, who is also a writer, is based, like Kelly Akashi, Nancy Lupo, and Peter Shire. It will run next year from February 6 through, naturally enough, April Fool’s Day. “We decided that we wanted to do something really simple and stupid and kind of wonderful,” Sharp told me yesterday in an interview. “Who doesn’t want to see a biennial about fruit?”

Despite an expansion last year, Lulu still measures just a bit over 200 square feet, which is, to say the least, quite small compared to the venues that typically play host to biennials, triennials, and the like. When Sharp first launched the Lulennial, in 2015, he told me yesterday, “It was a kind of send-up of the biennial format, with a lot of humor and poetry, but it was also quite serious because it was an interrogation of small gestures that had big impacts. It was a kind of reflection on the potential of small spaces.”

Among the works on tap this time are one of the German artist Amelie von Wulffen’s watercolors of anthropomorphic fruit and black-and-white photos photos of fruit clad in lingerie made by the Belgian artist Jef Geys from the 1980s. The New York–based artist Matthew Brannon is designing communication materials for the show, like an exhibition card and poster.

“I think it’s really important to show some classic works,” Sharp said. In that vein Adriana Lara’s infamous banana-peel piece—a fresh banana peel that is placed on the ground each day, which has appeared in shows at the Colección Jumex in Mexico City, the New Museum in New York, and the Astrup Fearnley Museet in Oslo, among other places—will be on view.

Jef Geys, Fruitlingerie, 1985.

COURTESY THE ARTIST AND ESSEX STREET, NEW YORK

Sharp mentioned that Mexico City has no major, international biennial, a rarity for a major metropolis in this biennial-saturated time. “We’re wrongly appointing ourselves that role, but with a lot of levity and humor,” he said. “We don’t call it the Mexico City Biennial. We call it the Lulennial.”

All kidding and critique aside, Sharp added, “For me, you know, a micro biennial about fruit is really about foregrounding joy and humor—the joy and pleasure of looking at art.”

The full artist list is as follows: Yuji Agematsu, Kelly Akashi, Derya Akay, Nina Beier, Merriem Bennani, Matthew Brannon, Naufus Ramirez Figueroa, Donna Conlon & Jonathan Harker, Rodrigo Hernandez, Jef Geys, Allison Katz, Adriana Lara, Nancy Lupo, Nevine Mahmoud, Luis Miguel Bendaña, Aliza Nisenbaum, Shimabuku, Peter Shire, Gabriel Sierra, Erika Verzutti, Maja Vukoje, and Amelie von Wulffen.

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