Having finally accomplished a portion of what I consider to be an obligation of mine just based on living where I do and having the interests that I have, I’m sitting down and recapping the visual works I’ve seen in the past week or so.
In Chelsea, Ziehersmith presented “Other Bodies: A Collection of Vernacular Photography” a curated exhibition of found photographs that have been acquired by artist Jason Brinkerhoff over rougly 10 years. None exceeded the dimensions of, I’ll say, 8″ on any side. The collector does not know who shot them, where they came from, what year they were taken or developed, or any details at all. There wasn’t even too much of a theme running throughout the pieces – other than that they were all framed in same scale off-white wood frames behind glass. Some were closer together, 4 or 5 in a row, and others were spaced a few feet from the next cluster. I noticed many seemed to be of family vacations, friends, or lovers (it’s not surprising this show stood out to me). Many had been overexposed, double-exposed, developed poorly, had scratches in the lens, the worst lighting in the most traditional sense. Snapshots not meant to be presented, for sure. They took me so far into the life of the person shooting them that I could feel the tension or the love present between the camera and the bodies.
The images can be seen online, at Ziehersmith.com, but I suggest seeing the show in person. Ziehersmith is located at 516 West 20th Street, between 10th and 11th avenues. (Note: the smell of oil paint still permeates the room from the previous Allison Schulnik show, the best painting show I’d ever seen.)
Damien Hirst’s “The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011” show is up at Gagosian. I was told not to take photos when I held up my iPhone, and said I’d delete them but didn’t. Is this worth seeing? If you want to enjoy a painting show, absolutely not. If you want to see what’s popular and dictating prices in the art martket, sure. If you’re an honest artist and want to be pissed off, yes.
Andrew Kreps had an “Interiors” show up. I’d seen it in the Selected Shows to See list that I get every week, and it mentioned Vuillard and Bonnard as being in the show, so I went. It was an unusual installation that incorporated the highly-regarded fathers of brilliant painting and color with contemporary wallpapered walls and wood slabs leaning up against blank walls. There were only about 6 paintings in the show, and they were not the best pieces of those artists at that. It wasn’t an impressive painting show, but it was a worthwhile installation.
Friedrich Petzel had a solo show of Joyce Pensato, “Batman Returns” at their 537 W 22nd address. I was never much a fan of Pensato’s oversized angry, black brushstrokes depicting nothing but vague, demonic cartoons and bird-like faces. This installation didn’t overly anger me though. I spent a bit of time wandering through the maze of stuffed animals and household items that looked like they had been sadly ejaculated on by black and white versions of Pollock. What I liked about the show was that nothing other than the word “psychotic” came to mind about her making process and her presentation of it. One painting in the back room had color in it; same birdface, but the drips were a range of beautiful pastels amidst the glossy black. Worth seeing.
The biked, gallery-hopping trip was planned as this – Norte Maar, Microscope, Storefront, NUTUREart and Theodore at 56 Bogart.
Norte Maar‘s Guilty/(NOT) Guilty was the highlight of the trip for me. Jason Andrews was even there for me to meet and explain what was one of the BEST things I’d ever seen at a show. Artist Alfred Steiner presented a diptych. This diptych consisted of an original Allison Schulnik painting of a clown face on the left, and what looked like the exact same images in a matte gray medium to the right of it. Looking at the price list, I read that this was constructed by a 3D Printer. I didn’t know if the painting was a real Schulnik or not, so I asked Jason, and he told me it was. Steiner had purchased it, mapped it, replicated it in a way, and then presented the 2 as his own diptych, being sold for $8,500. Schulnik agreed to this, Jason told me. I was really blown away. This took appropriation to a new level for me. Most times, it uses popular imagery, or borrows other artist’s techniques, but to present a purchased work and sell it again as one’s own while simultaneously using this new technology used by tech-artists just made for a wonderfully new juxtaposition, in my mind. Norte Maar is located at 83 Wyckoff Avenue off the Dekalb stop on the L, and is open on weekends from 1-6. I advise seeing this show; there are 3 other artists in it as well.
Microscope presented an interesting solo show by a video artist who chose to revisit drawing. The show has a ton of works on paper and one animated video. Though it didn’t adhear too much to my taste, the presentation of the work was very well-done, and it was great to see such an interesting little hidden gallery space in a totally deserted dead-end street off Myrtle Avenue in Bushwick. It’s right behind the super-hip Little Skips cafe though, which I’m sure is beneficial. Microscope is at 4 Charles Pl. at Myrtle Avenue, and I’m not sure what stop off the J that is. Open Thurs-Mon 1-6.
Gary Peterson at Storefront
Storefront and Theodore:Art both exhibited color-field, linear 2D works by 2 or 3 artists each. Storefront’s was definitely worth seeing, and if visited, make sure NOT to miss the back room. The medium-sized, framed paintings by Rob de Oude are really impressive and subtly beautiful. Theodore in my mind was not impressive, but it is their first show in their new space in the basement of 56 Bogart. If you head to the building, check out CCCP (North Light) in the basement as well (my friend is the director!)
NURTUREart has not yet let me down, and the current show might be the modern designers dream in little, discreet, monochromatic ways. The room was lit perfectly for the exhition by Svetlana Mircheva. NUTURE’s website sums it up best: “For this project, Mircheva strays from her usual interest in technology and automation to present a series of diminutive dioramas from an ongoing collection of imaginary gallery-size installations.” Worth it!
Let’s not forget that Luhring Augustine of Chelsea has a space opening up off the Morgan L stop, and Kesting / Ray of the LES has a project space opening off the Montrose stop on Boerum St.