Gallery Beat March 7: Spring is Almost Here!

7 Mar

This is an incredibly busy weekend for art-lovers in New York City. Not only do we have a great collection of gallery shows going on, but we also have the famous Armory Show in town. If you can only choose one of these, make it The Armory Show, but the others are a must-see as well this Spring.

Keith Haring, Untitled, 1982

Keith Haring, Untitled, 1982

City as Canvas

I have always been a huge fan of street art, and New York City is filled with some of the best. If you’re like me, and you’re still bemoaning the death of the Five Pointz art collective, then this may be the best place to get your new fix. The City as Canvas exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York features 150 graffiti art pieces by collector Martin Wong. This includes works by the likes of Keith Haring, Lee Quinones, LADY PINK, and FUTURA 2000. Wong’s incredible collection is basically a time capsule to graffiti’s early days in NYC. It includes both original works and photographs of graffiti that has since been erased.

NYC graffiti art has always been transient- it disappears and then reappears in new shapes, colors, and images. Martin Wong did a great service however by keeping these pieces for permanent display, allowing us all to enjoy them as he once did.

Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10029
(212) 534-1672
Exhibit until Aug. 24

MoM Block Nr. 55, 1999

MoM Block Nr. 55, 1999

Michel Majerus

Michel Majerus is an artist whose work resembles graffiti, but who is considered to be more Pop Art and Minimalist. Nevertheless this new exhibit of his work at Matthew Marks Gallery is an impressive trove. A large selection of small-canvas works adorns the gallery walls with a certain eye-catching pop and color.

Majerus, a Berlin-based artist, died tragically in a plane crash in 2002. This will be the first exhibit of his work in the United States since his death.

The exhibit will include over 25 paintings and multimedia installations. Often compared to Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat, Majerus’ work takes pop culture images/brands and reworks them into something completely new. Even when he uses reoccurring images, Majerus still manages to make each piece unique and intriguing.  The works in this exhibit are great to examine up close, but also to step back and take in as a whole.

Matthew Marks Gallery
522, 526, and 502 W. 22nd St.
New York, NY 10011
(212) 243-0200
Exhibit until April 19

Marc Quinn

Marc Quinn

The Armory Show

How could I discuss art in NYC without mentioning The Armory Show? This staple of the NYC spring art scene has been around for 100 years already. Running until Sunday only at Piers 92 and 94, this is something you really should not miss. Hundreds of galleries representing hundreds of artists will be showcasing their collections here. The art ranges in both historic and modern pieces, meaning there will be something to interest everyone.

There are multiple other art fairs occurring in the area as well- but the admittance fees are extra. While The Armory is the centerpiece of the weekend, the other fairs may be worth checking out as well if you have the time. The experience of immersing yourself in the “art world”- with buyers, collectors, and artists, for just one day is bound to give you a certain thrill you won’t find anywhere else.

The Armory Show
Piers 92 and 94 (12th Ave. and 55th St.)
New York, NY 10019
(212) 645-6440
Show until March 9

Gallery Beat February 21

21 Feb

Today’s gallery beat will take you on a little time traveling tour- to the future and the past. Hold on to your seat and get ready for some mind-bending exhibits.

 

Mural by Benedetta

Mural by Benedetta

Italian Futurism

Today is Italian Futurism’s opening day at The Guggenheim. The much-anticipated exhibit presents over 300 works created during the Futurist movement from 1909 to 1944. The first of its kind in the U.S., you can see pretty much every aspect of the movement here: from architecture to painting to sculpture to fashion.

The paintings are some of the most fantastic. Five in particular, by the artist Benedetta, are the prizes of the exhibit. They are on loan from the central post office in Palermo, Siciliy, for whom they were originally painted in the 1930s. Filled with incredibly bright colors, architectural strokes and strict lines, they definitely want to make you leap into the future.

Or at the very least, make you dream and forget about the winter cold out there.

Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10128
(212) 423-3587
Exhibit until Sept. 1

 

Replicant Marilyn

Replicant Marilyn

Tomoo Gokita

Tomoo Gokita offers another kind of fantastic, dream-like art. The artist uses portraits from pulp fiction, Hollywood tabloids, and film noir. He alters these portraits to make the subjects look deformed or unrecognizable, creating entirely new work in the process.

While unconventional, I love the result. The portraits are black and white, with strict edges and well-defined lines. Gokita overlays graphic patterns on many of the works to make them stand out and “pop.” They are like a not-so-secret surprise worked into every piece.

There’s a lot of subtlety to these works as well. Besides the strict black and white, they also have a million different shades of gray. It makes you wonder just how long it took Gokita to get those details right. In both the shades and the detail of the images themselves, there’s a lot to contemplate here.

Mary Boone Gallery
541 W. 24th St.
New York, NY 10011
(212) 752-2929
Exhibit until Mar. 1

 

Capucine, French model and actress, in Rome, 1951. Image via ICP

Capucine, French model and actress, in Rome, 1951. Image via ICP

Capa in Color

Rather than going to the future, this exhibit takes you back into the past. Capa in Color presents photographer Robert Capa’s color photographs for the first time. Capa was a photojournalist who used primarily black and white film, but also shot color film from the 1940s to the 1950s. Ranging from the Vietnam War to celebrity portraits, every photograph tells a compelling story about life in that era.

The variety of Capa’s work also gives you a great look at how versatile his career was. He had access to so many important people and events in his life that I can’t help but feel jealous. If nothing else you should see this exhibit to understand the importance of Capa’s work in the documentation of the 20th century.

International Center of Photography 
1133 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
(212) 857-0000
Exhibit until May 4

A Thousand Plateaus of Dance

16 Jan

Image via DaNaKa Dance

Image via DaNaKa Dance

Large metallic sheets shifted and shook and flickered in the light. They rose and twirled, then fell and flattened, seemingly on their own.

It wasn’t exactly a magic trick, but the people moving behind and beneath these sheets were invisible. Their movement was swift and undetected- yet I knew they were there. I was dying to lift the veils and find them.

These moving metallic sheets were the opening scene of Thousand Plateaus, a new dance performance by DaNaKa Dance. I saw DaNaKa for the first time on Sunday afternoon, during the Out of Israel festival at 92Y. I thought their work was catchy, invigorating, and cool- and DaNaKa is worth checking out. 

Thousand Plateaus is a unique performance in style and substance. The audience was assembled in an outward –facing circle, with the five performers dancing in a rotation. The performance goes through five phases, or plateaus, each illustrated by a different song, dance, and performer (depending on where you are sitting).

The development of each plateau was quite beautifully done. I loved the music selection- a mixture mostly of kitschy jazz and electronica. Each song has a slower, melodic beginning that gradually progresses to faster and more intense rhythms. The performers reflect the music in their moves- first dancing slowly and then again with swift, intense motions. While the dancers primarily act alone, sometimes they move from one “stage” to the next to interact with others. You are at once fascinated and gripped by the dancer in front of you, yet you want to look around at all the others as well.

I spoke with Danah Katz, the group’s director and choreographer, about this particular set-up.
“I was mostly curious to examine a sort of social phenomena, and its psychological effects. I was intrigued to situate the audience in such a way that will provoke a sense of curiosity towards what is unrevealed. Along the lines of “the grass is greener” I was interested to create a new world that pours light on our current generation’s behavior. That everything is reachable, touchable, and there’s so many to choose from in life.”

Hearing this explanation gave me much more insight into the audience’s seating. While I was impressed with the show, I feel I would have appreciated it even more had I known Katz’s inspiration beforehand.

Katz began DaNaKa Dance in 2009. She is an Israeli-born artist and recent MFA graduate from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She currently works as an artist-in-residence at Chez Bushwick Studio in Brooklyn. The Thousand Plateaus performance at 92Y was a premiere-only show. A small and incomplete version of Thousand Plateaus will show at CPR this Saturday, 7:30 p.m., but future DaNaKa Dance show dates are still being finalized.

I am not an avid dance reviewer, but I love art shows that keep me interested and curious. DaNaKa Dance definitely did that for me, and I’m excited to see other work from them.

Credits to the performers of Thousand Plateaus:
Chuck Wilt, Catherine Kirk, Chihiro Shimizu , Catherine Correa, and Danah Katz

Gallery Beat for the New Year

3 Jan

One of my multiple New Year’s resolutions this year is to see more artwork in New York City. I want to go to more gallery shows and museums, and in a city like this, there’s really no end to the opportunities. To start the New Year off right, here are some of the best shows happening right now:

Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2)

Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2)

Armory Show at 100: Modern Art and Revolution

This is a not-to-miss show. The New York Historical Society is revisiting the famous 1913 Armory Show, aka the International Exhibition of Modern Art. This was one of the American public’s first introductions to European avant-garde art, heralding major cultural and social changes in the U.S.

There will be major works by Duchamp, Matisse, Picasso, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh on display here, totaling about 100 works from the original show. It’s a pretty incredible collection, and the exhibit does a great job showing the immense impact these works had on the U.S.

The one setback to this wonderful opportunity is timed ticketing. In order to see the exhibit, visitors must buy advanced tickets for specific time slots up to 30 days in advance. So while you can’t drop in whenever, the exhibit is still worth finding the time for.

New York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-7489
Exhibit until Feb. 23

Ai WeiWei, Han Jar Overpainted with Coca Cola Label

Ai WeiWei, Han Jar Overpainted with Coca Cola Label

Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China

Ink Art is an exploration of China’s historic use of ink in painting and calligraphy. Displaying modern ink art, from the 1980s to the present, the exhibit shows how contemporary Chinese artists have transformed ink work in a new era.

The exhibit also shows how traditional ink art continues to influence modern expressions. This is typical of Chinese culture- where old customs are reinterpreted for cultural renewal.

Ink Art features a diversity of mediums, including painting, calligraphy, photographs, woodblock prints, video and sculpture. In all there are about 70 works by 35 artists.  While I am not particularly familiar with Chinese art and culture, this exhibit is a great insight into one important slice of the pie.

It is worth noting there are multiple Ai WeiWei pieces on display here as well. That alone should be a motivation to go see this.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10028
(212) 535- 7710
Exhibit until April 6

Trend-ology

I’m a big fan of fashion exhibits- especially ones with historical costumes. This really exciting show at FIT examines fashion trends throughout history and where those trends originated. Displaying 100 objects from the museum’s permanent collection, the show looks at fashion trends from the past 250 years. Inspirations for the trends include urban street style, art, music, film, and socio-political movements.

The trends are really diverse spanning through the decades, and you can see many original designs from people like Dior and Chanel. The designs are incredibly beautiful and inspiring themselves, and you will walk away from this exhibit with a desire to learn much more about fashion history.

From the FIT website: “Fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier aptly points out that ‘designers are the catalysts of their time; their role is to translate the changes, the mutations, the evolution of society.’ As culture continues to evolve, so, too, do trends in fashion.”

Fashion Institute of Technology
7th Ave. at 27th St.
New York, NY 10001
(212) 217- 4558
Exhibit until April 30

Gallery Beat December 13

13 Dec

There is a lot of famous artwork on display in New York City right now, and you shouldn’t miss your chance to see it. It may be super cold old right now, but I guarantee you will not want to miss these shows. They are very, very impressive, and will take your mind off these winter blues.

Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room

Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room

Yayoi Kusama: I Who Have Arrived in Heaven

If you haven’t heard about Yayoi Kusama’s new exhibit at the David Zwirner gallery, then you need to read up on it now. The talk of NYC for the past month, this immensely popular show will only last another week. And the lines are LONG, so get up early to beat the crowd!

Kusama is a Japanese native known for her extensive contribution to the pop art and minimalism movements. A prominent international artist since the 1950s, this is Kusama’s first exhibit at Zwirner.

The most famous (and exciting) parts of the exhibit are Kusama’s infinity rooms: two darkened rooms featuring lights and sculptures surrounded by wall mirrors. The mirrors create an infinity-like effect inside the rooms. The show also includes 27 new paintings and a video installation where Kusama recites a famous Japanese poem.

I will warn you- Kusama is very quirky and definitely has her own personality. But her artwork is immensely entertaining, and despite the lines, she will leave you smiling all day long.

David Zwirner Gallery
525 W. 19th St.
New York, NY 10011
(212) 727-2072
Exhibit until Dec. 21

Mademoiselle Pogany II; polished bronze.

Mademoiselle Pogany II; polished bronze.

Brancusi in New York 1913-2013

World-famous sculptor Constantin Brancusi is getting some special treatment at the Paul Kasmin gallery: the gallery is hosting a solo exhibit honoring the 100-year anniversary of Brancusi’s New York debut at The Armory Show.

Brancusi (a Romania native) had a revolutionary impact on modern sculpture in the early 20th century. He displayed five major works at the New York Armory Show- a parallel to five masterpieces chosen for the modern exhibit.

The pieces are quite extraordinary: beautiful smooth bronze melded and shaped with apparent ease. As beautiful as they may seem today, it is also easy to imagine how explosive they were considered in 1913- Brancusi’s artwork was definitely forward thinking.

While this exhibit is relatively small, I think it is absolutely worth seeing. Brancusi’s mastery of his medium is more than impressive.

Paul Kasmin Gallery
515 W. 27th St.
New York, NY 10001
(212) 563-4474
Exhibit until Jan. 25, 2014

Inside Out; Photograph by Lorenz Kienzle

Inside Out; Photograph by Lorenz Kienzle

Richard Serra: New Sculpture

Richard Serra is another influential 20th century sculptor. Yet his work is different in a very particular way: it is gigantic. It will tower over you and make you feel incredibly small. All you have to do is look at the picture above and you get what I mean. Through this exciting exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery, you can not only see but walk through this impressive creation.

The exhibit is actually split up between the Gagosian’s two Chelsea locations. The sculpture pictured is at their address on W. 21st St., while four other pieces are on W. 24th. Both galleries are absolutely worth a visit, especially since they are so close together. They are also near both other Gallery Beat exhibits (lucky you!) so you can enjoy an entire day of art viewing. It’s a perfect Saturday plan.

Gagosian Gallery
555 W. 24th St. (+ 522 W. 21st St.)
New York, NY 10011
(212) 741- 1111
W. 24th St. Exhibit until Mar. 15, 2014
W. 21st St. Exhibit until Feb. 8, 2014

Warfare Like You’ve Never Seen it Before

11 Dec
Journalist Dickey Chapelle receiving her last rights. Photograph by Henri Huet, Vietnam, 1965

Journalist Dickey Chapelle receiving her last rights. Photograph by Henri Huet, Vietnam, 1965

Injured soldiers lie bleeding on the battlefield. Young children, screaming, run from artillery fire. Dead journalists lie with their cameras and their gear beside them.

These are the images of warfare.

Since the invention of photography in the middle of the 19th century, photography has been used to capture scenes of conflict around the world. It has created the most realistic depictions of warfare to date, and revolutionized how civilian populations viewed the trauma.

This revolution is the subject of an excellent new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum: War and Photography. Running through February 2, 2014, War and Photography examines the various stages of warfare and how photography helps sear those conflicts into our collective memory.

Embarkation of HMAT Ajana, Melbourne. Photography by Josiah Barnes, 1916.

Embarkation of HMAT Ajana, Melbourne. Photography by Josiah Barnes, 1916.

Warfare is a traumatic event difficult to understand if you have not experienced it first-hand. Yet War and Photography brings a voyeuristic and emotional glimpse into the aspects of armed conflict.

The exhibit is organized based on eight stages of war: recruitment, training, embarkation, daily routine, battle, death and destruction, homecoming, and remembrance. Each stage provides dozens of photos from world conflicts: U.S. Civil War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam War, Yugoslav Wars, Rwanda Genocide, multiple South American wars, and more.

The photographs are carefully chosen and displayed, depicting the harrowing details of death and destruction that warfare brings.

Execution of suspected Viet Cong. Photograph by Eric Adams, 1968.

Execution of suspected Viet Cong. Photograph by Eric Adams, 1968.

Some of the images are very famous- like the 1968 photo of Vietnam’s chief of police executing a suspected Viet Cong member, or the 1972 photo of young Vietnamese children running away from their village after a napalm attack.

Congolese women fleeing to Goma. Photograph by Walter Estrada, 2008.

Congolese women fleeing to Goma. Photograph by Walter Estrada, 2008.

Others are not so recognizable- like a 2008 photo of Congolese women fleeing their war-torn homes, or a 1980 photo of assassinated bishop Oscar Romero’s funeral in El Salvador.

From profile photographs of soldiers and civilians, to aerial photographs of enemy bombardments and battlefields, the exhibit captures nearly every important moment and viewpoint in the world’s major conflicts.

With introductory explanations of each stage of conflict, paired with detailed captions on a majority of photos, War and Photography also gives you the context necessary to understand the images you are seeing. It is important to view the photos individually, eyeing them closely and examining their depressing details. But it is equally important to read each photo caption for clarity and reflection.

Prisoner of Khmer Rouge. Photograph by Nhem Ein, Cambodia, 1975.

Prisoner of Khmer Rouge. Photograph by Nhem Ein, Cambodia, 1975.

People often look at photographs of war, and later forget them. But the images will live with their survivors forever. The War and Photography exhibit, by placing hundreds of war images together in one space, creates a much more lasting impact for non-survivors to reflect on war’s effects. It’s also an excellent reminder of just how prevalent war is in many parts of the world.

The exhibit did have multiple faults: one lacking aspect was the show’s emphasis on American-involved conflicts: i.e. World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Photographs from these wars comprised a much larger percentage of the exhibit than photographs from other international conflicts. It would have been better to have a more equal balance of images from hostilities around the world.

I also believe the show would have been better organized by the conflicts themselves, rather than thematically. Concentration can be difficult when viewing images from half a dozen wars placed together in a single exhibit section. The nuances and individual circumstances of each war can also be lost through the exhibit’s current organization.

Despite these issues, War and Photography is still a visceral and informative look at how photography has captured warfare over the past 150+ years. Extensive and grossly engaging, it will capture and hold you for a very long time.

Gallery Beat November 22

22 Nov

The winter season is really starting to kick in here in New York City, and boy am I cold. To be proactive and fight off the winter blues, get out of your apartment and keep yourself busy. These three (must-see) art exhibits should do the trick:

 

Leonardo Da Vinci: Treasures from the Biblioteca Reale, Turin

This exhibit at the Morgan Library will show two Leonardo Da Vinci works never before seen in New York: Da Vinci’s Codex on the Flight of Birds, and the sketch Head of a Young Woman. The codex is a series of drawings and observations on the flight pattern of various birds. It’s a scientific document handwritten in Da Vinci’s iconic mirror-image writing. Da Vinci’s Head of a Young Woman drawing is known as a model for his famous Virgin of the Rocks painting. These amazing works will be featured alongside other Da Vinci drawings, all on loan from the Biblioteca Reale in Turin. I’m not sure how often these images travel, but my bet is they won’t show up in New York again for a long time. So see them while you have the chance. And while you’re there, don’t forget the frightening Edgar Allen Poe exhibit as well. They will make a trip to The Morgan well worth your time.

Morgan Library
225 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10016
(212) 685-0008
Exhibit until Feb. 2, 2014

 

Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938

The expansive Rene Magritte exhibit at MOMA has been running for a little while now, but it’s still a must-see. Magritte is one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. He created surrealist images meant to challenge people’s minds and make them do a doubletake, and he was incredibly successful. You might not recognize his name- but I guarantee you will recognize his paintings (see above, for example). The exhibit specifically focuses on the early years of Magritte’s career, and how these early years shaped him as a future artist. Besides his above painting, you will also see famous works like The Son of Man or La Durée Poignardée, plus many others. The show is quite large, so I would recommend checking it out when you have at least 1-2 hours to spare.

Museum of Modern Art
11 W. 53rd St.
New York, NY 10019
(212) 708-9400
Exhibit until Jan. 12, 2014

 

The Modern Poster in Germany

Early 20th-century German art is pretty fascinating, and the Neue Galerie has a great new exhibit dedicated to one unique art form: the poster. More than 30 posters from the late 19th and early 20th centuries will be on display, chronicling how posters emerged as an accepted form of art. Characterized by their bold yet simple designs, these posters really take you back to another era. The block printing visible on many of them is definitely reminiscent of our world’s previous industrial era.

Some famous works on display will be Lucian Bernhard’s 1914 Adler typewriter advertisement, and two of Thomas Theodor Heine’s images for the Munich journal Simplicissimus in 1896.

While poster art officially began in France, German artists made their own impressive contributions. This exhibit definitely inspired me to learn more about them, and seek out more of their work. Perhaps I’ll even buy a print for myself.

Neue Galerie
1048 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10028
(212) 628-6200
Exhibit until Feb. 10, 2014

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