The moment you enter Crip Algebra, you’re made aware of how you’re moving through the gallery.
A sculpture of layered black resin sprawls across the Current Space floor, establishing an otherworldly landscape. Fantastic plumb bobs are suspended from the ceiling, suggesting stalactites, while upended sculptures of molten wax and silicone rubber canes rise from the floor like stalagmites. In a corner, an assortment of bottles filled with multi-colored liquids and natural materials are gathered on a vitrine.
Against the walls, silicon rubber grab bars undulate from the walls and the floor, begging to be touched, grasped. Under your hand, these impractically soft grab bars wiggle; unlikely to bear your weight should you need them to prevent a fall. Around the corner, an endless looping video of matchstick structures catch fire. As flames consume each structure, a name appears on screen and is spoken, a prayer offered as each melts into ash.
Outside, near Current’s gorgeous bar, purple and orange votives dot massive candelabra sculptures. An opening night ritual featured a massive group candle lighting.
Crip Algebra, on view at Current Space through June 4, is as much a meditation on fire and destruction as it is about navigation, care, and community. The three artists—Baltimore-based Alx Velozo, Saar Shemesh (Richmond, VA), and RA Walden (Berlin, GE)—comprise an international care network of queer disabled artists supporting each other through artmaking and precarious health.
The show’s title is an idiom this artist network has used for years, referring to the constant calculations they each make while navigating the ableist world.