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10.4.07

Spring Time in NY

Chelsea MarketAfter a month or so of being cloistered in the studio, working on several projects, I finally got out and up to NYC to see a few gallery exhibits. On whole, March and April are cruel months: much of the work was not very interesting and a lot of it was quite juvenile. That’s nothing new, though I’m usually amazed by what is shown as quality or reputable art.

With several hundred galleries in Chelsea, there is always something to grab you and push you around a bit. Christopher Johnson’s paintings at Winkleman take a little time to creep up on you: in this case, the bucolic landscapes of snow-covered trees, draped with Christmas lights do get a little creepy, when the lights seem like many eyes looking at you. They’re well painted, and some of the images reminded me of the painter Leon Kossoff.

My good friend Nancy Scheinman has a show of her dreamscape, mixed media, painted metals, attached to wood panels. The few large works in the main gallery are some of the best work of hers that I have seen. Beautiful colors and loaded with hidden stories. Julian Lethbridge’s paintings at Paula Cooper have stayed in my mind hours after passing through the gallery. There is a simple yet striking quality about them and some good painting, too. A little reminder of Brice Marden’s work. Pace Wildenstein has dedicated a whole gallery to James Turrell's light works, and around the corner they have fabulous 60s era pop style paintings by Rosalyn Drexler.

Philip PearlsteinBetty Cunningham is one of the best galleries in Chelsea and has a very good show of Philip Pearlstein’s paintings. The best piece in the show for me was this water color, shown at left. This is the first watercolor of his I have seen. Joe Fyfe has found a great way to compress a variety of papers with pieces of dish towel and other fabric and pigments to make what he calls drawings. They're beautiful.

I never got to see much of Nam June Paik’s work. What I did see didn’t grab me. The installation of his work, Homage To Nam June Paik, at James Cohan Gallery changed my mind. This work is both playful and loaded with possibilities for interpretation. The gallery is sponsoring two evenings of performance by artist Larry Miller, to coincide with the exhibit. April 14th is the next date.

As always, more images of the day on my flickr site. Later this week, a view from San Francisco.

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