Art in NYC – December 2013

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Last week I got back from a week-long trip to  New York; I went to check out the exhibits, visit friends and enjoy spending time in the city during the holidays.There is nothing quite like the hustle and bustle of Manhattan in December: the displays on 5th Avenue, the lights in Columbus Circle, the tree at Rockefeller Center, the ice skating in Central Park, the shoppers on Madison and down in SoHo. I fell in love with the tagliatelle Bolognese at Cibo e Vino on the Upper West Side and enjoyed the moules frites at MARKT down in Chelsea. An afternoon trek over to Murray Hill yielded a variety of cinnamons for me and a look at some 4,000 different spices at Kalustyan’s.

I practically ran myself ragged rushing through the museums and galleries to see as much as I could – this time at break-neck speed I went to 8 museums and about 50 galleries.  Of course, the must-see for anyone who is going to be in NYC over the next few weeks are the Vermeers; 5 of them are on view in one room at the Met and 4 of them are at the Frick, including “Girl with a Pearl Earring.”

Other shows that really stood out for me were:

MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS

Christopher Wool at the Guggenheim – this is the artist I would want to be if I were not the artist I am.  I loved his photographic documentation, his obsession with patterns, his judicious use of color and his obliterative erasures.

Chris Burden: Extreme Measures at The New Museum – This was the one show during my trip that made me really slow down to take it in. I guess I knew he was the guy who shot at airplanes and I vaguely remember hearing about when he crucified himself onto the Volkswagen beetle back in the 70’s. Beyond that, everything else was basically new to me.   I am so, so glad I saw this because seeing his work really is like taking primers in performance art, installation art and modern sculpture.

Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital at Museum of Arts & Design – This exhibit is worth a look. It focuses on the rapidly developing area of digital fabrication and showcases best examples of printing, cutting and knitting.

Robert Indiana: Beyond Love at the Whitney – Most of us are familiar the iconic “LOVE” sculpture. This exhibit takes a look into Indiana’s career-long fascination with American identity and how that relates to justice and equality. I was particularly interested in his use of words and numbers to develop paintings that are symbolically complex.

Isa Genzken: Retrospective at MoMA – I am always interested in taking a look at artists that are better known outside the US than they are here in the States.  This exhibit offers a chance to explore the work of one of the most influential female (German) artists of the past few decades. I was fascinated by her assemblages, but ultimately more in love with her sculpture.

GALLERY SHOWS

  1. Ad Reinhardt @ David Zwirner – I was in love with these black paintings; they immediately reminded me of Rothko Chapel ( see https://myartlook.com/2013/01/08/the-menil-collection-art-in-context/), although I guess it is the other way around since he did these back in the 60’s.
  2. Kaws @ Mary Boone Chelsea – the 2-story “Companion” sculptures dominate the sky-lit gallery
  3. Thomas Demand: Dailies @ Matthew Marks – these images were sourced from Demand’s cell phone images. These photographs were all printed using a dye-transfer process that provides a richness to the colors and luminosity that is absolutely gorgeous.
  4. Brice Marden: Graphite Drawings @ Matthew Marks – 22 of his early works on paper.
  5. Nicola Hicks@ Flowers – Her sculptures of animals are amazingly expressive. They are generally made from plaster & straw and then cast into bronze.
  6. Michael Leavitt – Empire Speaks @Jonathan Levine Gallery – Imagine Hillary Clinton as a stormtrooper.  This exhibit imagines many of today’s figureheads as characters from Star Wars.
  7. Peter Saul @ Mary Boone – These paintings from the 60’s & 70’s mix pop with absurdist humor.
  8. Willem de Kooning:Ten Paintings 1983-1985 @ Gagosian; I love the loose brushstrokes of the paintings – some of the telltale colors are there, but overall compositions are light and airy.
  9. Tony Feher @ Sikkema Jenkins & Co – I missed his retrospective at the Bronx Museum, so I was thrilled to get to see this show. A post-minimalist, his sculptures show his fascination with the aesthetic qualities of cheaply made, mundane objects like plastic patio tables, and pressed glass candy bowls.
  10. Cyprien Gaillard @ Gladstone – His fascination with progression/regression; evolution/decay; construction/destruction makes for one of the more compelling exhibits. Gaillard’s massive sculptures made of excavation machinery and carved calcite & onyx stand as giant fossils giving clues to the birth of a dystopian society.
  11. Simon Hantai @  Paul Rodgers/ 9W – this abstract painter was a contemporary of Pollock; he devoted himself to automating painterly gestures.  By folding his canvases, he was able to achieve repetitive patterns that reminded me of cutouts.
  12. Christian Marclay @ Paula Cooper – this was a bit of a surprise for me. Marclay is known for his work with music & video, so I wasn’t expecting to see these vibrant screenprints.  The splashes of color are emblazoned with sound bubbles (think comic strips that read “Wham!” or “Pow!”) which are actually onomatopoeias of paint being applied to the canvas: “Plop”, “Whoomph!”, “Splat!”
  13. Kelly Reemtsen @ De Buck Gallery there is something slightly sinister about these brightly painted women in vintage skirts. Firstly, they are all anonymous (we don’t see faces, or even their heads) and then they are all carrying axes and chainsaws and garden hoses. They are so cheerfully creepy!
  14. Richard Serra @ Gagosian Chelsea – only Gagosian could pull off installing these giant sculptures inside the gallery.  I’ve seen them at LACMA and outside (the tuileries I nParis), but I have to say their scale takes on different significance inside the gallery.
Along the Way by Kaws at Mary Boone Chelsea

Along the Way by Kaws at Mary Boone Chelsea

Christopher Wool - The Harder You Look

Christopher Wool – The Harder You Look

Christopher Wool at Guggenheim

Christopher Wool at Guggenheim

David Smith at Gagosian (Madison Ave)

David Smith at Gagosian (Madison Ave)

Envy by Barry X Ball at Museum oh Arts & Design

Envy by Barry X Ball at Museum of Arts & Design

Gabriel Orozco at Marian Goodman

Gabriel Orozco at Marian Goodman

Isa Genzken at MoMA

Isa Genzken at MoMA

Richard Serra at Gagosian Chelsea

Richard Serra at Gagosian Chelsea

Tale of Two Cities by Chris Burden at New Museum

Tale of Two Cities by Chris Burden at New Museum

Thomas Demand Dailies at Matthew Marks

Thomas Demand Dailies at Matthew Marks

Tony Feher at Sikkema Jenkins & Co

Tony Feher at Sikkema Jenkins & Co

Twisted Dump Truck by Wim Delveye at Museum of Arts & Design

Twisted Dump Truck by Wim Delveye at Museum of Arts & Design

All the Submarines, 1987 by Chris Burden at New Museum

All the Submarines, 1987 by Chris Burden at New Museum

Bura II, 2001-2005 by Susana Solano at Jack Shainman

Bura II, 2001-2005 by Susana Solano at Jack Shainman

Liam Gillick with Louise Lawler at Casey Kaplan

Liam Gillick with Louise Lawler at Casey Kaplan

Rotary Demisphere, 1925 by Marcel Duchamp at MoMA

Rotary Demisphere, 1925 by Marcel Duchamp at MoMA

Willem de Kooning at Gagosian

Willem de Kooning at Gagosian

Rembrandt's Night Watch, 1974 by Peter Saul at Mary Boone

Rembrandt’s Night Watch, 1974 by Peter Saul at Mary Boone

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New York, January 2013

We just got back from New York – it was a wonderful week  for us to spend time with close friends and, of course, for me to check out the art.  The highlight was the blockbuster (just closed) Picasso Black & White exhibit at the Guggenheim. After that it was a week-long frenzy of galleries and museums. I raced through The Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art,  MoMA, The Museum of Art and Design,The New Museum, the Noguchi Museum, PS1, and The Whitney. I spent a couple of days roaming in and out of doors down in SoHo and Chelsea. I squeezed in a few galleries up on Madison Avenue and Bedford Avenue over in Williamsburg.

The reality is that no matter how I wear myself out, there is no way for me to really do more than take a cursory glance – I got to about 40 galleries this time around, but that is hardly a dent when you consider how much there is to see. As I reflect back on the week, it is already beginning to blur together but here are my top 10:

1) Picasso Black & White at The Guggenheim

This was the big blockbuster show – I love retrospectives in general, but really liked taking in a subset of works that spanned his entire career. Of course, the central atrium of the museum helps – there is such wonderful natural light and the spiral up the circumference allows for viewing from different vantage points. I loved being able to see works like “La Cuisine” close up and then check them out from across the rotunda.

2) George Bellows at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

It was a treat to see this retrospective of arguably one of the greatest  American painters of the early 20th Century – a member of “The Eight,” he was a realist, and often focused his works on the daily realities of urban living. His works captured the essence of NYC as it expanded during the turn of the century.  Many of the paintings were familiar: fighters in boxing rings, prostitutes, the excavation of Penn Station, etc. Ones that I especially liked were taken outside of the city up in Woodstock or off the coast of Maine.

3) Judith Bernstein “Hard” at The New Museum

What can I say? I mean her work just fits so perfectly in the Bowery…I was glad to see the museum showcasing her. I think I’d love to see her confrontational imagery in a more rarified setting; maybe on the Upper East?

4) Mickalene Thomas at Brooklyn Museum

It was fun to see this show which got my head spinning in so many directions. She happened to be checking out her own show the day that I was there and so that somehow added inexplicable relevance. I am beginning to explore concepts of popular imagery put into compositions based in historical reference. That is nothing really new, but right now it is especially hot in the art world.  I was particularly moved by her candid and touching portrayal of the relationship she had with her mother who passed away this past Fall.

5) Noguchi Museum

It takes a while to get yourself out there, but it is totally worth it. If you can manage it on a nice day, combine it with Socrates Park.

6) Daniel Buren at Bortolami

It was funny because when I entered the gallery all of the printed materials by the door were for Jillian Clark (whose installation was on display in the back of the gallery). I immediately looked at the stripes on the wall with recognition, but then questioned myself because of the literature. Once I got past the momentary disconnect, I really enjoyed the show.

7) Seth Casteel “Underwater Dogs” at Dillon Gallery

This guy’s photos are just so fun – it was a great burst of energy to see this show in the middle of a long, cold day of gallery hopping.

8) Yayoi Kusama “Narcissus Garden” at Robert Miller Gallery

These are the same polished steel marbles that the gallery took down to Art Basel; an installation that illustrates the role of context in art.

9) David LaChapelle “Still Life” at Paul Kasmin Gallery

These celebrity portraits force the viewer to look twice; they are broken busts taken from a wax museum.  They are sumptuously colorful photographs that challenge notions of permanence and mortality.

10 ) Henry Moore “Late Large Forms” at Gagosian

I’ve seen a lot of his work through the city in London and in museums everywhere – last year the Denver Botanic Gardens. These large scale pieces make an impact at the gallery – WOW!

Picasso La Cuisine at the Guggenheim

Picasso La Cuisine at the Guggenheim

Noguchi Museum

Noguchi Museum

Mickalene Thomas at Brooklyn Museum

Mickalene Thomas at Brooklyn Museum

Yayoi Kusama Nacissus Garden

Yayoi Kusama Narcissus Garden

Seth Casteel at Dillon Gallery

Seth Casteel at Dillon Gallery

George Bellow Winter Afternoon at the Met

George Bellow Winter Afternoon at the Met

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My “Top 10” Art Shows in NYC (Oct 2011)

This past week I went to NYC to see the first art shows of the season  – Wow! What a season it is…this year the museums and galleries are really hitting it out of the park with major retrospectives and beautifully produced shows.  De Kooning at MoMA heads the pack, but there were great shows everywhere.  The galleries are ambitious – they are showing an awful lot of incredibly expensive works (moderately priced works in the $100k-500k+ range) – I did see works range from as little as $500 going beyond  the $1m mark.  

Of course there is no real way to cover it all, especially in 4 days.  I only barely scratched the surface but what I did get to see was amazing.  I walked up and down the city (100-200 blocks a day) and managed to squeeze in 5 museums and about 60 galleries.  Of course I experienced the NY gallery snobbery… I understand it though as I was out of uniform. I wore my sneakers  instead of Pradas and I opted for a white jacket instead of Black…I was actually told that I looked like I was auditioning for “Miami Vice.”

I tend to have a voracious appetite for all things visual so I ate it up; there were a lot of shows that I could have lingered over for hours to look at all the nuances of the works, but I set out with a mission to take in as much as I could so I literally kept moving the entire time. 

Usually when I travel I like to compile a “Top 10” as a record for myself and to share, but with a so much going on, I couldn’t really bare to whittle it down past 7 museum shows and 15 gallery exhibitions:

Museums

  • De Kooning @ MoMA
  • Cy Twombly Sculptures @ MoMA
  • Lyonel Feininger @ Whitney
  • David Smith @Whitney
  • Master Painters of India (1100-1900) @ the Metropolitan
  • Frans Hals @ the Metropolitan
  • Hans Peter Feldman @ Guggenheim

Galleries

  • Do Ho Suh @ Lehmann Maupin
  • Leandro Erlich @ Sean Kelly
  • Agnes Martin @ Pace
  • Frank Stella @ Paul Kasmin
  • Milton Resnick @ Cheim & Read
  • Nicholas Krushenick @ Gary Snyder
  • Ronnie Landfield @ Stephen Haller
  • Ad Reinhardt @ Pace
  • Nick Cave @ Jack Shainman
  • Jenny Saville @ Gagosian
  • Ethan Murrow @ Winston Wӓchter Fine Art
  • Nathan Slate Joseph @ Sundaram Tagore
  • Monroe Hodder @ Andre Zarre
  • Andy Denzler @ Claire Oliver
  • Paul Winstanley @ Mitchell-Innes & Nash

With any luck I will get to go back in November and continue the expedition  – places I was really eager to see but missed this time around included the Neue Galerie (they are installing an exhibition of works from Ronald S. Lauder’s Collection), The Noguchi Museum, the Brooklyn Museum and the New Museum down in the Bowery. I didn’t make it over to Williamsburg or DUMBO this visit so they will be a must and I only got through about half of the Chelsea neighborhood. 

 

Do Ho Suh @ Lehmann Maupin Gallery

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Frank Stella at Paul Kasmin Gallery

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nicholas Krushenick at Gary Snyder Gallery

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

In NYC – looking at art

Cy Twombly Sculpture

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Daniel Buren

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

De Kooning, Judgement Day, 1946