Why hello there, dearest Filthy Dreams readers, and welcome to our latest installment of GIF reviews. This time, I’m focusing on Carlos Reyes current exhibition West Side Club at Bodega. In his show, Reyes created a series of sculptures out of wood salvaged from the former sauna at Chelsea’s still open West Side Club. I know, given New York’s rapid gentrification and cruising’s move to the digital, as well as the increasing amount of artworks made in deference to past queer nightlife spaces, it’s shocking that “New York’s Premier Social Relaxation Club for Gay and Bisexual men” exists in 2018. Nevertheless, Reyes’s works still seem haunted, primarily due to the names, places and phrases etched onto the face of the wood panels, raising the questions: Who were these men? Where are they now? What were their stories?
With their pillar-like forms and memories scratched into their surfaces, Reyes’ installation seems like a memorial–a memento to the momentary connections between bodies and kinship between men in bathhouses. Despite its elegant simplicity, Reyes’s West Side Club seems to speak volumes, which makes it perfect for a GIF review so “read” on: