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Can I Get a Bid? or a Cab?

Free ArtsOne of our family's favorite organizations is Free Arts NYC. It's a program that "brings the healing powers of the arts into the lives of abused and at-risk children and their families." Free Arts set up at the Javits Center immediately after 9/11 to help traumatized kids express their fears and worries through a variety of art projects. Donations of art supplies poured in.

Free Arts carries on still, year round, and this past Wednesday evening was their 6th annual art auction benefit, hosted by Phillips De Pury & Co. Ross Bleckner, Chuck Close, Jenny Holtzer, and Lisa Yuskavage were among the contributing artists. Mr. Close is a great supporter of the program and donated a big 80" x 80" Polaroid self-portrait: it went for a steal at $68,000. Go, Free Arts!

Speaking of Chuck, Pace Wildenstein has a show up of his latest big paintings, definitely worth a look, especially for the Merce Cunningham portrait. I didn't have much time to make a full swing through Chelsea, and the dripping heat didn't make it any easier: it feels like August this week. Many changes and additions happening, which keeps it interesting, but I'm always amazed at some of the work many galleries choose to show. What are they thinking? And there's rent to pay.

Photo by Jerry Saltz
The must-see show for me was Neo Rauch "Renegaten" at David Zwirner. Big paintings, full of surprises; several bizarre vignettes coexist in each painting within equally strange invented environments. I was constantly asking myself, "Where did that come from?" "How did he think of that?" It's rare to have such surprises; the man has a brilliant imagination.

Made it to MOMA. There wasn't a long line to get in, but the galleries were full and the cafés are doing a brisk business. A few things of note were several examples of Japanese fabric design, which either is new or I missed it on my last visit. They're quite stunning, some with combinations of fabrics and others with puffed reliefs. I was trying to figure out the production process. It must involve molds and steaming (couldn't find it on the MOMA site).

Upstairs is a very big exhibit of Lee Friedlander's photographs, over 500 of them. Be prepared to spend some time. Many of the photos should be familiar: it's a memory trail from the 60s on.

I've actually never seen New York so busy; hotels are booked, and cabs are not easy to get, especially with the heat wave. Hurry on up, because soon it will be the group shows of summer.

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