Saturday, May 11, 2013

At the Galleries


The two Jeff Koons extravaganzas now on at David Zwirner and Gagosian Galleries will no doubt satisfy his admirers and collectors for they are more of the same. I am not an admirer of his, I find his work (and these two fun house exhibitions) to be vapid and dull. The works are vulgar in subject matter and techniques and big in size, so the idiots buying these things feel that they are getting their millions worth. I don't want to dwell on these shows, instead I would like to mention the shows on now that are worthwhile and intriguing to me as an artist. The best show on right now is the wonderful show by Richard Serra of his early work also at one one the Zwirner galleries (there are so many of them out there). These are big pieces yet many of them are graceful and delicate. I especially love how he used materials that we think of as hard and static and molded and twisted them into sculptures that breathe. The main big gallery is filled with 18 of his sculptures covering the walls and floors, and the back gallery has his famous lead prop pieces that are beautiful and scary at the same time. They weigh tons. Upstairs is a nice show of the late artist Blinky Palermo's delicate small drawings, that are quick and loose and I liked them. Other shows that I liked are the two Ellsworth Kelly exhibits of his clear clean and beautiful minimal shaped canvas's that he is known for. Anselm Kiefer's very big and overwhelming paintings of flowers that the press release says are photographs that he painted on, these are mostly dense and dark, there are also two weak sculptures that he should have left out, they do nothing but distract from the paintings which are after all sculptural in their own right. His work usually gets a lot of flack but I always find his stuff exciting. Also a small show of paintings by Beauford Delaney whose life was rough and tumble at Levis Fine Art, Ugo Rondinone's big rough figures made out of stacked blocks of stone that fill the Gladstone gallery, you can't help but be impressed by these, although some might find them facile and repetitive which they are but I still liked the show. A nice but uneven show by the late Victor Pesce at Elizabeth Harris, and a show of Phillip Taaffe's very colorful and decorative paintings at Luhring Augustine. Also a small show of George Sugarman's at Gary Snyder. I've always liked his work and wish it was a bigger exhibition. And finally an interesting large show of Benny Andrews at Michael Rosenfeld, some of the paintings are a little too "expressionistic" but still this is a show worth seeing. I sure I left out some shows, and I promised myself that I would not mention the many shows that I didn't like, other than the Koons.


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