It’s Summertime, and livin’ is the best option. It’s easy to get around Chelsea right now to see the few galleries that are open, and the weather has been quite nice. Keith Mayerson has two paintings in a group show at Zach Feuer: Anne Frank’s Wall and Composition For Those In The Towers, both beautifully painted and right to the core. There is another provocative show at Jack Shainman, The Color Line, curated by Odili Donald Odita. It’s a 23-artist exploration of the meaning of black and white, color and race, including Nick Cave’s ceremonial costume.
I liked George Kuchar’s painting in the Good Morning, Midnight exhibit at Casey Kaplan. The gallery web site is pretty cool, too: you can make a personal Etch-a-Sketch on the home page. Enjoy it before the image disappears, this may be your only gallery solo. There are also a few nice paintings at Stephen Haller, especially Robert Jantz’s.
For an extended stay in air conditioning, there’s nothing like heading over to MoMA, to finally check out the Richard Serra retro. Much has already been written about it, and it’s all you would expect: it’s powerful, intimidating (a bit -- no, a lot), claustrophobic, and quite beautiful. They don’t allow photos, which doesn't make sense. Dan Perjovschi’s wall drawing project, What Happened to Us?, in the main hall is lots of fun to decipher and very popular with the summer crowds. My favorite space as always is the print gallery, now showing Repicturing the Past/Picturing the Present, with work by Max Beckmann, Picasso, Louise Bourgeois, a beautiful Red Riding Hood litho by Kiki Smith, shown at left, and a room full of Kara Walker, worth a visit on its own.
I fought the massive hordes of tourists at the Met to see the Neo Rauch mini-retro. I’m a fan, as I’ve noted before. Though this is a good show I was somewhat disappointed by some of the imagery and the paint on a few of the canvases isn’t holding the pigment. They’re relatively new works, and the paint is already going flat. It’s distracting.
By Wednesday, the summer heat returned, but being the professional blogger that I am (is it really a profession? [Did you not get the check I sent you? -- CTD]) I headed to the Lower East Side to see A New American Portrait, at Jen Bekman. The air was on (phew!), and the show was hot. Bekman has gotten a reputation for herself, finding and creating opportunities for photographers through her on-line juried project, Hey, Hot Shot: Alec Soth's photo is great, as are these two from Todd Hido.
My next and last stop was at 31GRAND, which has a cool, brand new comfortable space since moving over from Brooklyn. This 27-artist exhibit is full of good work. Some of my favorites are Barnaby Whitfield's luscious, pastel drawing, The Prestige, Ryan McLennon's Gather, and Maureen Cavanaugh's Family -- hold on to that baby: in a flash, it's off to college. The area around the gallery is undergoing huge changes with restaurants and high-rise condos. Not the Bowery I remember. More images on my Flickr site.