New Year-the journey continues

They say times flies. This idiom was first recorded about 1800 but Shakespeare used a similar phrase, “the swiftest hours, as they flew,” as did Alexander Pope, “swift fly the years.” When I realized that it’s been more than a year since my last post I ask myself, where did the time go? What have I been doing all the last year?

Well, it’s time to change that.

It’s February 2019, I will try to post more frequently. My goal is to write about the art I see and that talks to me, at least once a month.

A few weeks ago I made a list and headed down to Chelsea. I wanted to see the new works by Lynette Yiadom-Boake, an artist I discovered a few years ago at the art fair in Chicago. She was born in London, won a few prizes and is included in numerous institutional collections. The images in her paintings are pure imagination; she studies old paintings and lets her brush tell the story.

This show is called “In Lieu Of A Louder Love”. There is a poem which she wrote that might shed light on the images.

In Lieu Of A Louder Love
In the Shade of Hooded Cove,
In Debt to the Dead Oak.
In Range of a Twelve Gauge,
On Embers over Smoke.
 At Pains to Hold the Wanton,
At Home to all who Knock.
At Prayer on Prickly Hearth Rug,
An Eye upon the Clock.
 In the Parlance of the Pilgrim,
In Hallelujah Coat and Tie.
In Soul so Black Beguiling,
That the Ravens do Carp and Cry.
 In Memory of A Cipher,
At Peace beside resting Dove.
 In Light of Care and Kindness,
In Lieu of A Louder Love.

My next stop was at Mitchell-Innes & Nash.  What caught my eye was the detailed drawings of LA artist Karl Haendel.  The images draw from American life. You can see a portrait of Barbara Walters, a stack of lawnmowers, an American eagle and football players in a huddle. The common tread that links these images is the dialogue between memory, both personal and collective, and national identity. The artist gives his own interpretation and presents us with an alternate American reality.

Across the street I walked into James Cohen gallery to see the show ” Borders”.

It is a powerful show. A group exhibition that considers how contemporary artists engage in politics, ideology and formal borders. The exhibit seek to create a dialogue about borders both as a productive exchange and as a barrier.

I found some of my favorites artists: Yael Bartana; an Israeli pioneer black and white photo., although the photo is titled;The missing negatives of the Sonnenfeld Collection, https://www.bh.org.il/databases/visual-documentation/photo-collections/.                    Yinka Shonibare ; American Library. Shonibare uses African textiles to create books. The spines are  embossed in gold with names of American politicians who are first and second generation immigrants. Jordan Nassar, a Palestinian-American artist who uses tradition Palestinian embroidery in his abstract works. There is a nostalgic feeling to these works. Between the stitches one senses his desire for a peaceful resolution to the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. Dead Scott who imagines a world without America. A world without boundaries or borders.

 

“Imagine a World without America” was originally designed for and displayed as a panel of Mark di Suvero/Rikrit TIravanija’s Peace Tower at the 2006 Whitney Biennial. Subsequently it has been printed as a large print on canvas as well as a smaller version on paper.

As I was walking home I passed a Mark Di Suvero sculpture called Hugs.

Maybe it is a fitting ending to this first post of the year, sending hugs to all who are reading this.

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Dots, Dots and much more….

Once a month I take  a half day to walk two to three streets in Chelsea looking at art.

I compile a list of galleries, search for artists I like and look forward to discover new talent.

In November everyone was talking about the de Vinci, the most expensive art sold at auction to the tune of half a billion dollars. It was time to check what art is being shown at the galleries.

I decided to start my tour with the most talked about art show that opened in town. People are lined up for more then two hours to see  the Yayoi Kusama show at The David Zwirner Gallery.

A few months ago I saw an incredible installation at the Hirshhorn Museum of ten Kusama rooms. It was like diving into the rabbit-hole to Alice in wonderland. Here at the Zwirner gallery there were three rooms which were mirrored installations of balls. When I peeked through a window I could see myself on the other side. The highlight of the show for me was a room of recent works that looks like an a aboriginal work from New Zealand with African-like masks designed by Kusama who  lives and works in Japan. The colorful display makes you feel like you are in a field of flowers. You want to take each painting, transform it into a scarf and wrap yourself in these colors.

 

At The Jack Shainman gallery, Nina Chanel Abney works  are full of  abstract color but on second look one can discover the story behind the images. She touches on contemporary issues as race, politics, religion and art history. You feel drawn into the images that jump up from the collage-like art.

Cecily Brown’s work at Paula Cooper gallery with the title A Day! Help! Help! Another Day! is again full of references to art history’s iconic paintings such as The Raft of the Medusa by Eugene Delacroix and Shipwreck by Theodor Gericault but on closer inspection you can find a burka clad women, which transports us back to the present.

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William Villalongo at The Susan Inglet Gallery was a refreshing exhibit. I had not been previously aware of this artist but his cut-paper work with images of the black male figure lurking from among the cutouts conjures spaces of sensuality, humor and history.

The last two stops were a true surprise. I walked into The Hauser and Wirth Gallery to re-discover the sculpture of David Smith. I have been to Storm King and seen the outdoor sculptures but here in the space of the gallery were pairings of Smith paintings (or rather studies) with miniature sculptures. They were so delicate, yet strong . The show is called Origins & Innovations. The art  indeed reflects the subject.

 

Last stop was Richard Avedon Nothing Personal show at Pace Gallery which gives us a glimpse into the past. The photographs and archival materials are taken from a collaboration with James Baldwin. The two met in high school and throughout their writings dealt with issues of race, mortality or as Avedon wrote  “the future of humanity”.

I chose to highlight one photo of an iconic person – Marilyn Monroe.  We see her without the glamour we usually associates with her image. It’s like we can read her thoughts.

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There are many more shows to see but for now I will leave it to others to explore.

In today’s complex world the colors in the paintings bring a smile and fills my heart with the hope that although contemporary art represents the state of the world today, which is not always bright, there is a a ray of hope in all those red dots, yellow lines and blue skies.

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This images was taken at the Gagosian Gallery. Alex Israel Flying Pelican and Jeff Wall California Landscape.