Sunday, November 29, 2015

chelsea galleries


              Skip the dreadful Jeff Koons at Gagosian (the worst show of the year) and head on over to the beautiful double dose of Brice Marden at the Mathew Marks Galleries. These are luscious panels of deep monochromatic colors, deep browns, green and reds whose surfaces are smooth and enticing like the skins of puddings along with bottom borders of thin drip like painting that hem them.  Also included are a few of his well known calligraphic paintings that consist of curvy lines against pale blue backgrounds. They bring to mind nature especially the rich earth colors and the pale blue backgrounds. There are also some terrific drawings made up of calligraphic marks that are dense and complex in their design and execution. This is a painter at the top of his game and a pleasure for us all.
                Also great is the Morandi show at David Zwirner of his small landscape like paintings of simple objects such as bottles, boxes  and jugs set on tables that become pale and intimate landscapes that compel the viewer because of his use of simple objects and lush brush work using subtle color combinations. Heady stuff but also beautiful in its’very quiet  and understated way. This was a painter who gave me much trouble when I was young, maybe they were too simple and subtle for me, but I’ve since come around or perhaps matured enough to grasp their great beauty.   In the large downstairs gallery is a big  exhibition of Cor-ten steel sculptures by the late sculptor Donald Judd and proves once again how beautiful minimal art can be. His work along with other minimalists influenced me in the sense that they gave me the freedom to make my crowded small pieces that were markedly opposite of what they were doing. When I first looked at Judd’s “empty” boxes my immediate reaction was to go home and make my own boxes which I did.  These are remarkable sculptures elegant and surprisingly light in their feeling and quite lovely, and a nice companion show to the Morandi exhibition.
                  Also marvelous is the large Jean Tinguely exhibition at the Gladstone Gallery which will surely bring smiles to viewers. Most of these assemblages of found pieces of iron and such can be made to move by touching the foot to a bright red pedal in front of each piece. When they work and sometimes they don’t flowers and feathers spin, wheels turn with cranky movements and noise and stuffed animals jump up and down. Several of the works are monumental and a few were out of commission because of breakdowns which some would offer up as a criticism of the failure of works that depend on technology no matter how simple it is when there is a breakdown. I guess that’s true enough but I loved this show anyway.
                  The other show that I loved to bits was The Claes Oldenburg jam packed show at Paula Cooper. Titled “Things Around The House” with co credit given to his late partner Coosje Van Bruggen. Still this is all Claes with works going back to the early 60’s and beyond. There are great pieces here both soft and hard, large and small that  hang, lean and sprawl across tables walls and floors. What was wonderful also is how close we can get to the works. Oldenburg is another of my major influences and I’ve written about how he gave me the freedom and permission to do what I wanted and in spite of poverty and lack of attention I have. This is a grand show full of humor color and ideas and this was an exhibition that I wanted to take home with me. 
           Also terrific if a little bit of Ripley Believe It Or Not was the Gil Batle show “Hatched In Prison” at Ricco Maresca  which must be seen to be believed. I mean just the very idea of this guy taking ostrich egg shells and carving out intricate and beautifully detailed images of prison life is something that has to be seen up close and very personal. There are even magnifying glasses hanging on a wall for the viewer to use so they can get closer to them. Batle who served many years in various prisons where he won over the murderers and thugs with his talent for drawing and tattooing now tells his stories via these magnificent eggs that are presented under glass domes.    


Post a Comment

<< Home

Site Meter