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19.6.07

Seeing Art, Drawing Conclusions


This past weekend of art viewing began on Thursday evening in Baltimore with John Ruppert’s exhibit of new sculpture at the Grimaldis Gallery. John’s most recent work has been the elegant shapes he forms from chain link fencing. I’ve shown them here in my previous post on Art DC. There are a few small wire pieces in this show in addition to cast metals, the type of work he is most noted for.

Ruppert is a great technician with a passion for blurring the line between organic materials, wood and stone, and casting them in iron, aluminum, copper, or bronze. This is evident in Iron Split Rock ll, where a large weathered granite stone sits beside an identically cast version in iron. It’s not easy at first glance to tell them apart. My favorite piece in this show is the gorgeous example of alchemist love, Horizontal Strike-vista. Here Ruppert cast long slender strips of wood, one in aluminum and the other in copper, and displays them on the wall together, seemingly fused as one; a stunner, shown above.

On Friday the art viewing moved to Chelsea in NYC, first for an incredible piece of pecan pic at The Little Pie Company on 14th St. Then to see Zoe Strauss’s photo show at Silverstein Photography, before it closes this week. Someone put lots of red dots on the exhibit listing: don’t worry, Zoe, I removed them for you; no need to thank me. There will be a closing party and outdoor slide show, weather permitting, on the 22nd.

Other shows of note: the late Charles Steffen’s large pencil drawings on brown paper at Andrew Edlin. This is the first exhibit of Steffen’s work and well worth a visit. Betty Cuningham’s latest exhibit could easily be in a museum, and perhaps it should be. It’s All Spiritual, Art From Tribal Cultures is a fabulous but fragile display of functional and ceremonial pieces dating from 1100 BC to the early 20th century. Some of the work is from private collections and not for sale, while the mid-19th century coat made of tapa cloth and Macaw feathers from the Amazon can be purchased for $45000 (shown here). I think I saw someone resembling the Nkondi power figure at a club recently.

I began the day with drawings and ended my Chelsea swing at the opening for Sarah Peter’s show of drawings at Winkleman Gallery and a nice glass of wine or two. It's difficult to take in the work during an opening, but what I did see I enjoyed. Very detailed flowing stories with some nice drawing. I'll get back for another look before it closes.


To the Drawing Center in SOHO I went on Saturday -- while Mini-me shopped; that can have scary consequences -- to see Gego, Between Transparency and the Invisible. Gego -- Gertrud Goldschmidt (1924-1994) -- was a German-born Venezuelan artist, not well known in this country, but with a strong following throughout Latin America. She was part of the Kinetic Artist movement in Venezuela. In addition to drawings on paper, this exhibit also has several of her wire sculptures, which she called drawings without paper. The Drawing Center is a total gem. For more images of this exhibit, the Cuningham Gallery, and galleries I didn't have time to mention, visit my Flickr site.

Good luck and safe travels to Charles, as he goes off on a dream trip to Italy. I am sooo jealous. Next week I'll open the Ionarts Maine outpost, to keep you all in touch with the latest trends in lobster art.

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