I think it reached 104° this past Tuesday in NYC, as I slithered through Chelsea to see as many shows as I could, before passing out. Even though my trek was a Bikram yoga experience, it was worth it. One of the highlights were the paintings of Rosa Loy at David Zwirner. As with her spouse and fellow Leipzig Schooler, Neo Rauch, the bizarre compositions are very inventive and fun to try to decode. I like her painting, though at times it’s actually bad. This mostly works to her advantage, giving them a folksy, outsider feel.
Pace Wildenstein on 22nd Street is showing Michael Heizer’s carved stone sculptures of “prehistoric functional devices” or tool forms. They’re quite beautiful and seem to float off their welded steel cradles. I liked Amy Wilson’s Dargeresque send-ups, where the characters in the pictures discuss current events while visiting various museum exhibits. She’s in a group show at Bellweather: bring a magnifying glass, the printed verses are tiny.
In a heat-induced daze I walked past 25th Street. Upon leaving a gallery building on 26th, I had a conversation with a woman about how much cooler the weather was in Maine last week (she was going next week). At that point she pulled the catalogue for the Chaim Soutine exhibit at Cheim & Read out of her bag. “You’ve got to see this show,” she said, my angel! That’s the main reason I came down here and I walked past the street; back I went.
It’s difficult to be a contemporary painter without being somehow inspired or influenced by Chaim Soutine. To what Cezanne did to give the canvas structure, Soutine added self-expression through luscious, fluid paint. Cheim & Read’s exhibit, fitting for any museum, explores some of the influences he had on the likes of Willem de Kooning, Leon Kossof, Joan Mitchell, Philip Guston, Jean Dubuffet, and fifteen others, by hanging their work side by side. The accompanying $60 catalogue includes quotes from the artists:
People always talk about Picasso. What about Soutine? demanded Willem de Kooning.It’s rare to see more than one or two of Soutine’s paintings together: this exhibit has 17 absolute gems.
On a slightly cooler Wednesday I sought shelter in the stodgy oasis of the Frick, whose collection of Gainsboughs, Chardins, Goyas, and others I haven’t seen in a while. Whistler’s Symphony in Gray and Green reminded me of Alex Katz's recent treescapes.
My last stop before the train home was at MoMA, to see DADA once more. Instead of paying the $20 ticket price, I got a $60 membership. I’ve probably spent more than that in the past year. NYC residents have to pay $75, :). The DADA exhibit was packed and raucous, as it should be. If you missed it in D.C. this is your last chance to see so much work combined; it’s fabulous.
In the print room there are several new acquisitions. From street artist Swoon, two large graphic cutouts printed on acrylic, an Andrea Zittel litho composed on 15 sheets of paper, and 8 very bold silkscreens by Gary Hume. With recent mention by Edward Winkleman, concerning art fairs no longer allowing print dealers to exhibit, one scan of this gallery proves how short-sighted that is. Strides in art making are influenced and complemented by an array of mediums; printmaking continues to play a major role in invention and discovery.