Why Are We Just Standing Here? Dean Levin at Bill Brady KC.

Why Are We Just Standing Here? Dean Levin at Bill Brady KC.

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Bill Brady KC is a brightly lit white cube that looks like it was taken right from New York and tucked into Kansas City’s West Bottoms. This spatial frame allows for a close inspection of monumental artworks. Dean Levin’s exhibition features human-sized rectangular steel cages with offset rows filling the space not already taken by the gallery’s two main columns. Following those on the stark white walls are black semi-circular paintings hung at the eyeline which don’t demand that you get closer. His paint lies flat and dead along the stretched canvas. The work echos minimalism in a way that is underwhelming. Viewers stand like at a middle school dance between the walls of the austere space and the work that increased the cold presence.

Almost formulaic in nature, the work stays rooted in being as reductive as possible to avoid engaging with any sort of cultural narrative. Levin’s exhibition will be photographed beautifully and look great as an ad in ArtForum, and it seems as though that is as far as it needs to go. Apolitical work is incredibly appealing to the Patrick Bateman-esque art collectors of the world. Just like a logo-coated handbag, it takes pride in the surface level.  Levin’s work is emotionally detached and will continue to find its place on the opposite side of the wall from the audience.

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