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15.11.08

Home Again, Home Again, Again

In my last post I was wondering if Pace Galleries' fantastic space at the 798 Art District in Beijing could also be an outpost to find and introduce new Chinese artists to their roster. The answer is yes, of course, as proven by their new exhibit in Chelsea of artist Zhang Xiaogang's Revision. Mostly big canvases, mysterious, surreal, somewhat eerie -- what makes them work for me is the nod to Philip Guston's clumsy figuration. A sense of being out of place and a feeling I had during my visit to China, of always being observed, by the Gustonesque dangling light bulbs.

Perfect timing for me is the new show at Winkleman Gallery, Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev's A New Silk Road. The exhibit features photos and a five-channel video shot along the ancient Silk Road, which connects China with the markets of the West through Kyrgyzstan.

Originally commissioned by the Art Institute of Chicago, the five video screens depict a fascinating and humbling, never-ending flow of patched-together, rickety old trucks, animals, and the resourceful people that keep this essential link to the West open for business.

Next door at Schroeder Romero, Laurie Hogin's Monkey Brains is a very creepy-crawly homage to toying with the natural world. Careful, your desires may come back and bite you. The bizarre colors are how those pharmaceutical companies chose to enhance the sale of their products.

When I was walking through Chelsea this past Thursday, many galleries were still rolling paint on the walls and setting up the bars for the evening's openings, not a bad time to see the work. Several galleries have closed, some have traded spaces or enlarged -- it's a constant shuffle, an art business chess game.


I've have never seen Tomma Abts' work other than in press pictures. She was a 2006 Turner Prize winner with a fast-growing resume, and I must to say that her show at David Zwirner captured me right away. Small, intimate, complex geometric compositions, a precise balance of form, color and detail -- my find of the day for sure.


Other shows that I liked include Anton Henning's juicy abstract paintings, displayed in uniquely crafted light boxes at Zach Feuer. The late Al Held's work looked very sharp at Paul Kasmin and through January 13, a nostalgic look through the late-great lens of Richard Avedon at Pace Gallery on West 22nd. Let's see, the overly hip Factory gang or Monty Python? Python.

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