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27.9.04

Day Trippin, Yeah

Well, it was actually two days but I've been wanting to use that title for a while. I made it to New York this past week to see the first of the fall shows, starting in Chelsea, which seems to grow with every season. This is what I found memorable, besides The Wild Lily Tea Room on W 22nd for lunch.

Alex Katz, 6:30 AM,  2004The show to see is Alex Katz's Twelve Paintings at Pace Wildenstein. I rarely get to see his work in the flesh, so this was a show I looked forward to. There are ten portraits and two landscapes. The portraits are of well-known New Yorkers such as Martha Stewart, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, and his well-known wife and muse, Ada. Katz is a master of simple elegance. If you only get to see his work in reproductions he'll seem slick and removed. In reality there are definite brush strokes, brush hairs, and some really good painting. Most of the attention has been on the portraits, but the showstopper for me was an eleven-foot square image of a tree in muted greys entitled 6:30 AM (seen right). I had to adjust my eyes from the bright portraits to appreciate this subtle beauty. Keep an eye on the landscapes as this guy grows older, they're honest meditative insights.

Cotton candy. I've been concerned lately as to whether my work is reflecting the harrowing times which we have all been thrust into. Should it be reflected in my work? Should I be making a grand statement? Should I go Goya on your ass? I am less concerned after seeing Will Cotton at Mary Boone.

Bellwether is a new addition to Chelsea, by way of Brooklyn, and they have an exhibit, by Kirsten Hassenfeld, of amazing cut paper/origami fantasy objects and chandeliers. Feigen Contemporary is showing the obsessive paintings of visionary artist Eugene Von Bruenchenhein and staged pin-up photos of his wife Marie. Sears-Peyton is showing "polagrids" by John Higgins, polaroids shot with a 4x5 camera and somehow transferred to watercolor paper. It's a nice technique with an arrangement of several transfers for each piece.

In a dank old garage on 27th, "a movement of emerging Albany artists infiltrate NYC," called "One Night Stand" (Thursday). I'd like to see this happen more often: hope they at least got breakfast and a note on the pillow. Up on 57th, Sue Coe has some zingers for Bush and Co. at Gallerie St Etienne. I knew she had it in her. A well-done installation at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is entitled "The 1930's: Modern American Design." The central gallery is set as a 1930s, hip New York appartment, complete with period furniture, art, and muffled jazz playing from an old radio.

I'm a fan of Lois Dodd. Alexandre Gallery has a grouping of small oils on roofing tin appropriately called "Flashings." On the way to the train I went thru Rockefeller Center to see the Jonathan Borofsky installation, Walking To The Sky. Unlike the recent sculpture Man/Woman here in Baltimore (see my post from June 4), this is a real crowd pleaser. It's a fun, "hey, that's cool" kind of piece. It fits well in the "Capitalist Canyon," and it won't ruffle any feathers. Where is Diego Rivera when you need him?

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