Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dan Flavin And Sarah Sze

Dan Flavin At The Paula Cooper Gallery

After more than 40 years this grand old man of minimalism still has the power to surprise and please. These are photos that I took today of his recent show at The Paula Cooper Gallery which is one of the best exhibitions now on view. After all the shouts, show offs, and blustering that fill up many of the galleries, this cool and lean beautiful show is a soothing respite from a lot of the hype that tries to pass itself off as "meaningful" art.

Sarah Sze At The Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

My mother always told me never to speak ill of the dead, so I won’t mention by name the eight or nine ridiculously bad shows that I saw in the galleries of Chelsea the other day, and will instead focus on the marvelous excessive installations of Sarah Sze which fill the two floor exhibition space of the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery to the brim. I suppose some could and will accuse these works (and the artist) of being too theatrical, too clever and cute for their (and her) own good and whimsical beyond the pale. These many small elements forming big areas of chaos some might say are just intellectual window displays for FAO Schwarz with their 100’s and 100’s of small handmade objects, little clay do dads, drawings in space and delicate constructions that look like they are going to tumble down on you. Valid criticisms for sure and all the reasons why I was so captivated by these sculptural enterprises on consumerism, popular science, architecture, silly moving machines, dreams and nightmares so cluttered and busy that I got lightheaded and had to take a slug from my water bottle. There are electric fans moving strings, lights shining on pieces of paper casting shadows, eclectic and eccentric reminders of Calder, Rube Goldberg, Art Povera, Dada and more And yes I of course related to these works because of their scale and imagery something that is in my own art, but also because this is an artist who takes me back to my childhood where quite possibly we played together on the floor and made things that only the two of us could appreciate and understand. She speaks my language. An art critic once said of my art that one might be tempted to call it naive if it weren't so obviously sophisticated, the same can be said of Ms. Sze's art. This is one of the best shows I’ve seen all year.


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