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

Gallery Beat November 8

8 Nov

There are some great opportunities in New York right now for art-lovers, and you shouldn’t miss any of them. For this week’s Gallery Beat, we’ve got three very unique exhibits featuring art, and artists, who don’t often make their way across the pond. You’ll be feeling very European after checking these out:

Girl with a Pearl Earring

Girl with a Pearl Earring

Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis

Remember Scarlett Johannsen’s 1999 film, Girl with a Pearl Earring? Now you can see the original masterpiece at the center of that story. For the first time in 30 years, Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer is on display outside its home in the Netherlands. The Frick Collection is displaying the painting, along with other famous Dutch masterpieces, in an exhibit now through January 19. The paintings are from the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague, which is currently undergoing a renovation.

Girl with a Pearl Earring was created sometime in the 17th century, and is inarguably Vermeer’s most famous piece. It is a beautiful and intense image of a young woman, with her stunningly large pearl earring as the focal point. It is well worth seeing in real life, so take the opportunity now.

The Frick Collection
1 E. 70th St.
New York, NY 10001
(212) 547-0641
Exhibit Jan. 19, 2014

Betende Hande, 1963.

Betende Hande, 1963.

Konrad Lueg

Konrad Lueg has a really interesting history. You would think this German postwar artist, one of the founding figures of “Capitalist Realism,” would be more famous. His work in the 1950s and 60s was considered the German counterpart to the American Pop art movement.

But Lueg abruptly quit his artistic pursuits in 1967, and went on to become one of Europe’s greatest contemporary art dealers instead. His early contributions to German art have not earned him much recognition.

Perhaps this new exhibit at the Greene Naftali Gallery with give him more credit. While Lueg’s career was short, this display of his work between 1963-1967 offers plenty to keep your attention. It also makes me want to see much more of him. His fascinating, abstract patterns and portraits, filled with rainbows of colors, are enthralling. I love Lueg’s unique addition to his artistic genre, and hopefully this exhibit is just the beginning of Lueg retrospectives.

Greene Naftali Gallery
526 W. 26th St., 8th Floor
New York, NY 10001
(212) 463-7770
Exhibit until Nov. 16

Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Barbès” women’s ready-to-wear fall-winter collection of 1984–85. © Paolo Roversi

Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Barbès” women’s ready-to-wear fall-winter collection of 1984–85. © Paolo Roversi

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

 The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier has been hitting the publicity waves for two years now- and it’s finally made its way to New York. It is the first international exhibition dedicated to the acclaimed and groundbreaking couture fashion designer.

Currently at the Brooklyn Museum, The Fashion World features 140 pieces of haute couture and prêt-à-porter ensembles, including some of Gaultier’s earliest and newest pieces.

What makes this exhibit really cool are its multimedia elements. According to the Brooklyn Museum, many of his fashions are displayed on “custom mannequins with interactive faces created by high-definition audiovisual projections.”

In addition, you can also view “accessories, sketches, stage costumes, excerpts from films, and documentation of runway shows, concerts, and dance performances, as well as photographs by fashion photographers and contemporary artists who stepped into Gaultier’s world.”

I can’t wait to step into it myself.

The Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11238
(718) 638-5000
Exhibit until Feb. 23, 2014

The Advent of Social Documentary Photography

23 Oct
Image via ICP

Circa 1906. Image via ICP

1910: A young boy in ragged clothes and bandages waits alone in front of the doctor’s office. 1906: A group of boys huddle together at midnight near the Brooklyn Bridge, selling newspapers to make any small living they can.

Lewis Hine’s photographs of poor and working children are among his most famous and acknowledged. His work embodied the life of thousands of ordinary Americans in the first half of the 20th century, and captured some of the most iconic images in American history. He is considered a pioneer of social documentary photography.

Circa 1910. Image via ICP

Circa 1910. Image via ICP

In two excellent new exhibits, the International Center of Photography examines Hine’s photographic career through both his famous and lesser-known works. Lewis Hine and The Future of America, running now through January 19, offer an inspiring and haunting glimpse at our country’s working-class past.

Beginning with his earliest photographs at Ellis Island in 1905, Lewis Hine follows with a selection of every major project of Hine’s career. This includes 1910’s “Hull House,” Post-World War I’s “American Red Cross in Europe” series, and 1932’s “Men at Work,” detailing the construction of the Empire State Building.

The second exhibit, The Future of America, documents Hine’s work as chief photographer for the National Research Project (NRP), a division of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the late 1930s. The least known of all Hine’s photographs, these captured working conditions in northeast industrial towns. The U.S. government used these photographs to help study industrial technologies and their effects on employment, effectively documenting the historic labor and industry transitions of the time period.

The two exhibits combined present over 200 photographs on loan from the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.

Hine was trained as a sociologist, giving his photography a very keen insight into its subject matter. He is often compared to photographer Jacob Riis, the photojournalist who advocated for New York City’s working poor population.

Circa 1931. Image via ICP.

Circa 1931. Image via ICP.

Hine’s wider range of subjects, however, gives viewers a much more complex and intricate view of life in the early 20th century. The expansive material on view at the ICP is a perfect introduction to his work- spanning 30 years and several geographical eras. The images themselves are voyeuristic angles, yet objective in their frames. All of them are mesmerizing.

Hine was meticulous in the quality of his subjects and images. Looking at row after row of his work on display, you can see the care and precision he took into creating each shot. The people and the places and the scenes, often shot in action, make a long distance era seem not so long ago anymore.

Hine doesn’t need an expansive exhibit to prove his incredible influence on modern photography- but the ICP does his legacy great justice in these two collections.

Open House New York This Weekend!

11 Oct

This weekend will be unlike any other in New York City: for two days only, hundreds of museums, institutions, and private homes across all five boroughs will be open free for tours, talks, and visits. It is the 11th annual Open House New York.

Instead of my regular Gallery Beat to start off your weekend, I’m choosing some of my favorite “Open House” events or locations for you to see. New York is full of so much beautiful art, architecture, and history, and Open House is the perfect way for you to explore your neighborhood and city. A full list of events and participating places can be found at http://www.ohny.org, and here are my Top 10 Favorites that I’m still trying to choose from:

Image via Open House New York

Image via Open House New York

Wyckoff House Museum
5816 Clarendon Rd., Brooklyn
Open for tours Saturday and Sunday at 11am, 1pm, 3pm.
“Explore rarely seen areas of the Wyckoff Farmhouse and learn about the importance of cellars and attics to New Yorkers in the Colonial period.”

Image via Open House New York

Image via Open House New York

Museum
Cortlandt Alley/ Franklin St., Manhattan
Saturday and Sunday 11am- 7pm
“In a hidden alley in the back of a former paper warehouse, a freight elevator shaft-way is now NYC’s smallest museum containing 150 objects of overlooked humanism and beauty from the streets.”

Image via Open House New York

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden
421 E. 61st St., Manhattan
Sunday 11am- 4pm, tours on the hour
“One of Manhattan’s oldest buildings, this converted carriage house was a popular 19th-century country resort for New Yorkers escaping the crowded city, which at that time ended on 14th St.”

Image via Open House New York

Image via Open House New York

Berman Horn Studio
461 W. 153rd St., Manhattan
Saturday 2-6pm, tours every half hour
“This 19th-century building has been transformed to fit a 21st-century lifestyle, where architects Maria Berman and Bradley Horn work and live. Both the home and office are a testing ground for new design ideas and how to live respectfully within a historic structure.”

Image via Open House New York

Image via Open House New York

Khouri Studio Apartment
86 Forsyth St., 6th Floor, Manhattan
Saturday and Sunday 12-4pm
“Capitalizing on the stellar top-floor views, KGB created a small but well-formed apartment for one of its principals out of a former sweatshop space. One garment-making business still remains in the building.”

Image via Open House New York

Image via Open House New York

Lori Weitzner Loft
252 Seventh Ave., Apt. 3P, Manhattan
Saturday and Sunday 12-3pm
“A warm earthy palette, luxurious woven and printed fabrics, and hand-tufted carpets characterize textile designer Lori Weitzner’s family loft in the landmark Chelsea Mercantile Building. A magnetic linen wall covering in the kids’ bedroom lets her children practice decorating.”

Image via Open House New York

Image via Open House New York

Van Cortlandt House Museum
Broadway at W. 246th St., Bronx
Saturday and Sunday 11am- 4pm, tours throughout both days
“This Georgian fieldstone country house was once home to NYC’s prominent Van Cortlandt family, and was General George Washington’s headquarters in 1776 and 1783.”

Image via Open House New York

Image via Open House New York

Edgar Allen Poe Cottage
2640 Grand Councourse, Bronx
Saturday 10am-4pm; Sunday 1- 5pm
“Poe spent the last years of his life in this wooden farmhouse and it was where this prolific writer penned many of his poetical works, including ‘Annabel Lee’ and ‘The Bells’.”

Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
895 Shore Rd., Bronx
Saturday and Sunday 12-4pm, tours. Sunday 4:30-6pm, lecture.
“This mansion’s gracious proportions, refined exterior stonework, cast-iron balconies, period millwork, and Greek Revival interiors exemplify country living in 19th-century Pelham Bay.”

Image via Open House New York

Image via Open House New York

Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Pkwy, Queens
Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm; outdoor tour 2pm both days
“The city’s longest continually farmed site, this 47-acre area includes the Adriance Farmhouse, barns, a greenhouse, livestock pastures, planting fields, a small vineyard, and gardens.”

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