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Skinny Models and Art

As the fall art season begins in New York and the last of the skinny models are sleeping off fashion week parties, I snuck into town and made a spin through Chelsea. I couldn’t stay around for the 50th anniversary party for Pace Gallery, but I understand it was star-packed. Fifty years is a good run for any business and Pace has consistently put up good shows and even expanded the brand to a very cool space in Beijing, which I mentioned from my trip last year. Happy birthday, Pace!

When I say a spin through Chelsea, it usually means I stop at 25 or 30 galleries. I either pop my head in or spend at least half an hour if the work is of interest to me. Here are the shows that stuck with me, in no particular order.

Since I’ve spent the summer gardening and drinking a lot of wine in a very nice garden, I really liked Joan Snyder’s new work at Betty Cuningham. They’re not just paintings but a profusion of splashed color, collaged berries, dirt, and twigs. They’re a physical, earthy embrace of the natural world. Joshua Marsh inaugurates Jeff Bailey’s new space on 27th Street, with his simplified but high-intensity colored (psychedelic-level) paintings. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust, which is Marsh’s strength. He makes you pause just long enough to draw you in, and they reveal a gracious subtlety.

More subtlety exists within Kim Uchiyama’s paintings at Lohin Geduld. Small paintings of luscious bands of color, scuffed and layered, a little academic, but this painter enjoyed them. If you’re a Roy Lichtenstein fan, Mitchell-Innes and Nash has some early work, including some very cool study drawings for large paintings. The exhibit coincides with the upcoming Black and White exhibit opening at the Morgan Library and Museum on September 24th. Always keep the Morgan on your list when visiting the city: consistently some of the best exhibits in NYC.

In addition to Michael Mazur's paintings, Mary Ryan Gallery will often have a few gems on display in one of the side spaces. This month it's turn-of-the-century lithos and color woodblock prints.

Andrew Edlin is the exclusive representative for the estate of the outsider artist Henry Darger, and he therefore has some of the best works still in private hands. Darger is best known as the author-illustrator of The Story of the Vivian Girls, also known as The Realms of the Unreal, of The Glandeco-Angelininian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. The story is comprised of over 15,000 single-spaced typewritten pages and over 300 drawings. Darger's long rambling scrolls of watercolor and pencil drawings depict a fantasy world as fragile as the paper he worked on.

A lot of painting has come out of East Germany since the Wall came down. Before the Wall tumbled, artists in the East were subjected to strict censorship; easel painting, associated with bourgeois conspicuous consumption, was discouraged. Communist officials encouraged printmaking and graphic design for its reproducibility and visual communication. Many East German artists toyed with the limits placed on them by party officials, producing some exquisite limited edition posters. Over a hundred are now on view at NYU's Grey Art Gallery through December 4th.

And lastly, just the chandelier I've been searching for!

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