Holiday shop, featuring Dirk Westphal, opens Dec. 10

One must speak reverentially of masterpieces, that’s well understood. But does the pleasure of aesthetic contemplation really compare to the satisfaction of knowing you’ve just scored a great bargain? We may praise works displaying outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship, but when we vote with our feet it seems that what we really love is a cheap-knock off… Hey, no one needs to know you got your ‘Louis’ bag on Canal Street, right?

Canal Street Boogie-Woogie, Dirk Westphal’s new series of nail-polish Mondrians (more images), makes no attempt to resolve the internal conflict between high and low. The work plays on this tension; and, even better, it’s one of those beautiful things that let you have it both ways. Kind of like Jimi Hendrix playing The Star-Spangled Banner, which goes down like a frosty mug of patriotism but with a nice jolt of rebellion as a chaser, Westphal makes cover versions of works that aspired to Neo-Platonic purity out of tacky bargain bin materials. They’re clean and dirty all at once. You can high five yourself for being a culturally sophisticated art-world know-it-all and a savvy shopper who just got a bargain.

Works from Canal Street Boogie-Woogie and Westphal’s new artists’ book (in an edition of 50 signed and numbered copies) will be featured at the 6 Decades/Boo-Hooray Holiday Shop, open 11-6 Monday-Saturday from December 10th through the 23rd, with opening night festivities on Saturday, December 10, from 6-8pm.