Thursday, October 16, 2014

Art in our Nation's Capital and the Capital of Culture

I spent three of the last five days having the opportunity and time to look at art.  While in Washington, DC reuniting with some of my best girls from college, I spent a rainy day visiting the National Gallery.  While there wasn't a blockbuster show on view that I was dying to see, we went to see some of the permanent highlights at the National Gallery and in the sculpture garden.  Two of my favorites are the massive 1976 Calder mobile that hangs from the ceiling in the atrium of the contemporary East Wing and the Richard Long slate circle that rests on the lobby floor.  And I am always eager to see Louise Bourgeois' enormous Spider from 1997.  I had the great honor of working with the artist herself when I was at Robert Miller Gallery and Cheim & Read.  The Spider in DC was commissioned while I was at Cheim & Read.  In fact, our inaugural exhibition at Cheim & Read included a version of that Spider installed right in the gallery.  It was a joy to "live" with that piece everyday.  I was also reminded while cruising the Mall that every museum there is FREE!  What a bonus in a world where its difficult to find anything gratis!  It's nice to see our Federal tax dollars at work.

Back home, my kids were out of school on Monday so we headed to NYC to see the newly opened Matisse Cut-out exhibition at MoMA.  I was seven years old when my mother took me to see a show of Matisse paper cut outs at the St. Louis Art Musuem.  It was imbedded in my memory and I can probably attribute my earliest attraction to contemporary art to that exhibition.  I wanted to give my daughters' that same experience.  It was moving to see those works again.  I definitely plan to return to MoMA to see the show again taking more time to really look at each piece and read the wall texts.  Museum visits with children tend to be a quick and hurried - although insightful through their eyes.


And yesterday, I lead another gallery tour in Chelsea for the Greenwich Arts Council Collectors' group.  We saw some incredible shows.  Aside from Ezra Johnson's sculpture at Freight + Volume, there was a common thread of painting using unusual techniques and incorporating collage and found objects.  Ezra Johnson's ceramic "sponges" and bright collage paintings are candy for the eyes.


Elliott Puckette's recent paintings at Paul Kasmin's new space are based on wire maquettes she constructed and used as models and translated  the three dimensional shapes into a flat one-dimensional images.  These works are less calligraphic in nature and more abstract.  She is also know for the her colorful and decorative works but these remain in shades of blacks, grays and whites using a razor blade to etch out the image from the prepared grounds.

We also went to see Jenny Holzer's Dust Paintings at Cheim & Read, Dan Colen's Miracle  paintings at Gagosian, and Norwegian artist Fredrik Vaerslev's show at Andrew Krep's A Shore Thing -- all of which I posted about last week.

Arturo Herrara's new body of works at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. includes paintings on linen, aluminum, canvas, used books and canvas totes.  They are multi-leveled pieces that use cut out of thick pieces of felt with layers of table clothes and vintage magazine photographs.  The paintings reference pop culture and are both "revealing and veiling" at the same time.

And lastly we visited Anton Kern Gallery, where Chris Martin's (not to be confused with the rock star) new paintings were recently installed. What is interesting about these works is that they were all produced concurrently in the same space (a large barn in upstate NY) over the course of three months yet they are incredibly diverse.  Martin's use of massive amounts of glitter is literally spectacular and it works!

If only every week allowed so much time to explore galleries and museums...

Friday, October 3, 2014

Current gallery shows in Chelsea - October 2014

The fall art season is in full swing in New York City.  Yesterday I tried to hit some of the hot shows currently on view in Chelsea.

Among the "must-see" shows are Jenny Holzer's Dust Paintings at Cheim +Read.  These are a series of paintings based on governments documents in 2004, after the invasions into Iraq by the Americans and the Brits - in response to America's War on Terror.  Some of the paintings are color field paintings with minimal use of language -- in the style of Ad Reinhardt.

I'd also recommend the beautiful Miracle paintings by Dan Colen at Gagosian on West 24th Street, concurrent with his show that has been up at the Brant Foundation  in Greenwich, Connecticut.  The paintings at Gagosian are only up through the 18th of October.  They are etherial paintings based on Disney stills from Fantasia.

 Matthew Ritchie's show Ten Possible Links at Andrea Rosen Gallery is another one not to be missed.  The show is a combination of four distinct projects spanning painting, wall drawings, sculpture, sound and moving image.

Lastly, I loved the simple white on linen paintings by Norwegian artist Frederik Vaerslev in the exhibition titled A Shore Thing at Andrew Kreps Gallery.  To produce the white lines he uses the same technique used to make boundary lines on football and soccer fields as well as those to mark street lines.

And don't miss the Jeff Koons Retrospective at the Whitney Museum before it closes on October 19th.