Sunday, April 05, 2009

March viewing excursions

A's skirt, digitally modified to fit the mood of the day.

On two Saturdays in March I made a jaunt down to NYC for some art oriented expeditions. On the 7th, A and I headed down together to Pulse. We then parted ways as she met up with her pal Peggy, and I headed down to SOHO to check in on the Habitat for Artists installation at the recently opened NY outpost of Ecoartspace. After hanging you with the HFA contingent that had made its way down for the opening, I hustled up to Denise Bibro Fine Art to catch the Artbloggers panel that was organized by Olympia Lambert and which included Joanne Mattera, Hrag Vartanian, Libby Rosof and Roberta Fallon , Bill Gusky, and Brent Burket.

Saturday morning soccer action on the pier outside of Pulse.

Habitat for Artists at Ecoartspace.

The blogger panel at Denise Bibro Fine Art.

On the following Saturday, I met up with Peter Acheson to do a late morning run through some galleries.

We started off at Josh Smith's show Currents at Luhring Augustine, where we spent much time debating Smith's intentions. Both of us responded positively to the show. I like straight out stream of production - good and bad- represented in the show. I also respond to the flattening out of the hierarchy of material, presenting paintings on canvas side by side with digital prints of paintings pasted on panel at the very same scale as the works on canvas. In some ways, his work speaks about slaying the sacred in art, but I found a certain structure within the gathered works that he did not betray. Certain types of mark making seemed relegated to the paintings and a particular set of the mixed media painting/collages, but another selection of collages were completely devoid of the same treatment. I'm not sure if this was part of a deep seated aesthetic strategy, or an abiding to some invisible barrier, either way, it served to undercut the entire, balls to the wall approach he seems to want to embody.
The different bodies of work within this entire body were divergent enough that the works themselves seemed to provide a palate cleanser. As some work was more memorable than the rest, the lesser works...or whichever ones appeal to you less take on the role that empty wall space would provide - giving a buffer between the vibration of the pieces that matter. I picked up the exhibition catalog, and if image per dollar cost is any measure of worth, then it's a real value, clocking in at around 600 images for $40. The catalog, showing two images per page with no text equates to a cache of film frames rolling through a barrage of works, some of which I learned from the gal at the counter were not even finished. Knowing this really brought it home for me. I dig the flat, holistic apporoach to his process.
above and below: more Josh Smith.

Dana Schutz at Zach Feuer, through Apr 25.

The highlight of the day was discovering Jim Lee's work at Freight and Volume. This show lacking in the spectacular provided so much of a thrill to both of us. the inventiveness and quietly clear vision of this work forces air in to my lungs. I can't say enough about this show. I certainly don't have any smart words to lend it's description. F&V's website has more detailed images of the work.

A trippy Carroll Dunham at Mary Boone.

Our selection of gallery visits was rounded off with a stop into the Leon Kossoff show at Mitchell Innes and Nash. Really sumptuous, physical work from the '50's that been rarely seen as the artist has stringently guarded these pieces. My favorite piece is in a back room, but all of these works have so much presence, and given the generally muted palette, there's a lot of chromatic life eminating from all of these works.
a detail of Kossoff's oozing layers.

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