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Solstice in NYC

West on HoustonI don’t quite know where to begin this post, having seen an amazing amount of art this past weekend in NYC; some of it was actually amazing. I missed the openings at the begining of the fall season but have been following some of the reviews and blog chatter. What better time to see the new season than the new year/solstice weekend?

Working my way through Chelsea, I started at the David Zwirner empire growing on 19th Street. The gallery must have tripled its size this year, expanding in both directions, including a very spacious open garage, which could handle some very big installations or a nice party rental. Of the three current exhibits, Jockum Nordström’s large collage on paper and graphite drawings are of note. Across the street Frank Gehry’s latest structure continues to take shape.

Elizabeth HueyI’ll give my first amazing nod to the Elizabeth Huey exhibit at Feigen Contemporary. The Kirkbride Plan is an exploration of Thomas Story Kirkbride, who was an innovator in the psychiatric field of the 19th century. He believed in the curative effects of a bucolic environment. Hence the creepy, ornate buildings that sprang up across the country, Sheppard Pratt Hospital in Baltimore is a good example. The front gallery has a bizarre send up of a treatment room complete with period tools of the trade, some from fantasy; like an electric chair from hell. Huey’s corresponding paintings are in the main gallery.

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Brian CalvinOK, I give, Brian Calvin’s simplified portraits at Anton Kern have grown on me. They remind me of the quirkiness of George Condo’s work. Robert Feintuch, uses himself as the model for his paintings at CRG Gallery; he's a very good painter.

Down the street, Protest Space has opened in a tiny space, showing Ellen Levin’s America For Sale installation; a portion of the proceeds go to activist organizations. Isca Greenfield-Sanders has been getting some attention for her paintings at Goff+Rosenthal. They’re derived from a complex process of manipulating found photographs by scanning, painting, scanning again, printing them as 7” squares and applying them to the canvas, then finishing. I like the imagery, and the resulting quality is interesting but at times muddled with too much emphasis on the technique; sales are brisk no matter. As for brisk sales four of Chie Fueki’s strange superhero-like paintings at Mary Boone have sold at $35,000 each, one for 50 remains; those are nice numbers.

Mathew RitchieThere is a very cool Mathew Ritchie installation at Andrea Rosen, The Universal Adversary, a row of illuminated images topped by a folded black latticework sky complete with elevated viewing platform; quite a production. More collage and mixed media on canvas from Donald Baechler at Cheim Read and Roberto Juarez at Charles Cowles. Both get some fabulous color through their individual techniques. Bring your own popcorn to view Lucas Samras, at Pace Wildenstein: also iMovies is an impressive and pricey row of iMacs, running for several minutes at a time with some well-known faces, such as Chuck Close, Robert Rauschenberg. A definite nod to Andy Warhol.

Another exhibit that rises to amazing is a sound-based work, Harmonichaos, by French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot at Paula Cooper. Imagine a darkened space, with thirteen vacuum cleaners (assuming a French brand). Each of the cleaners has a harmonica attached along with some sort of electronic gear. In random sequence air blows through the harmonica, creating some very interesting sounds. Kind of like Janet Cardiff, but cleaner (sorry, I had to). This show put a big smile on my face.

Alison Elizabeth TaylorAt James Cohan, Alison Elizabeth Taylor has a show of intricately assembled wood veneer compositions. I’ll give this an amazing nod, too: they’re extremely well-crafted and imaginative compositions, but once past the wow factor of the process, I’m left wondering, why bother?

As always, it’s a treat to make it to W. 27th. At John Connelly, Gerald Davis’s 1986 is a series of autobiographical drawings from a pivotal year in the artist's life, dealing with sex, death, hazing, and entertainment involving penis and vacuum cleaner; careful dude. Also of note, Street Poets and Visionaries at Oliver Kamm, posters and ephemeral Writings from the streets of NYC.

Jennifer DaltonJennifer Dalton's Would You Rather Be a Loser or a Pig is at the newly renamed, Winkleman Plus Ultra Gallery. For the record I’m a proud pig. In this exhibit Dalton continues her investigation into the haves and have nots in society and the art world. How many men vs. women get shows in Chelsea, to the earning power of males with children to women; some surprising answers.

Michel GondryI spent most of the weekend in some seriously sweaty backbends at a yoga workshop atop the beautiful Puck building in Soho, which allowed me, in between sessions, to take in some of what remains of the art scene down there. I’m not quite sure what was going on at Deitch Projects, but the gallery was full and the work was a cathartic spewing of some sort by Michel Gondry (see Charles's review of Gondry's new movie, The Science of Sleep, at DCist), some of it using flat screen monitors in a very clever way. But he really needs to clean his room.

The Drawing Center has to be one of the best places to exhibit in the city. They always display work with such respect. Next door Spencer Brownstone has Jane South’s cut and painted constructions of elaborate fantasy machines; so complex and beautiful to observe yet ultimately of no functional value. I know a few people like that.


Anonymous said...

a beautiful post
i wish i could have been your date through this wonderful artful weekend!!
i ove the life you have created

rb said...

haha, Gondry's room looks like my room

waitaminute... hey! that IS my room!

Mark Barry said...

I don't know anon, how's your triangle pose?

with all the wait staff and housekeepers poets have, I doubt your room looks anything like that, rb.

rb said...


i have a computer instead of an etch-a-sketch, but the rest is the same

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip about the Feintuch exhibition. That was a beautiful show.