a day in chelsea
I had heard from more than a handful of people that I should really go see the Anselm Kiefer exhibit at the Gagosian in Chelsea. So on Saturday, we hit a few galleries starting with Gagosian.
Words really can't describe how amazing the Anselm Kiefer exhibit is. Although Gagosian is a gallery, he has really become a mini-museum. This exhibit could qualify as an exhibit you would see at the Pompidou in Paris or the MOMA in NYC. It is truly spectacular, thought provoking and an unbelievable body of work. A mixture of painting, photography and sculpture representing literature, history and Judaism. You could spend hours just pouring over each piece. The paintings just blew me away. Layers and layers of paint, ash and fabrics that have been made in a way that they appear to be cracking under the weight. Many of the sculptures are placed under glass structures. So close yet so far away. If you don't have a full day to spend doing the galleries, at least get over to Gagosian to see this exhibit. It will stick with you for a long time.
We continued down 24th Street where each door is an entrance to some of the best galleries in the city. Next stop was Luhring Augustine where the current exhibit is of Elad Lassry. Photography. Solo work of staged photography. Photos of anything from small elephant charms to people to candles. Conceptually I like the idea but nothing really drew me in. You really have to like the elements he shoots.
Down the street is Andrea Rosen. Friedrich Kunath is the artist. The exhibit is vast. There are colorful oil paintings that are layered including black and white simple drawing on canvas. But what really drew me in were the sculptures. There is something about sculpture like this that I just love. It is funny yet thoughtful at the same time.
Next stop was Bryce Wolkowitz. The exhibit here is called The Universe Next Door by Abelardo Morell. Jessica said it was a must. She was right on. I had a hard time leaving without buying one of the pieces. The manipulation of photography here is brilliant. Large beds places in bedrooms literally sitting on top of classic New York locations, such as the Brooklyn Bridge or overlooking all of Florence. There is something intriguing and calming about each piece. Loved these.
Next stop was Hasted Kraeutler of Albert Watson's work. A contemporary photography gallery. The photos of Watsons range the gamut from Keith Richards to monkeys to an astronaut suit. This is the piece the drew me in the gallery.
Our last stop was Sean Kelly. A new body of work by James Casabere. We own one of Casaberes pieces that we purchased about 8 years ago. I love walking by that piece every day. This body of work has really taken Casabere to another level. I had a hard time not buying a piece here too. Casabere has always made miniature rooms or homes which he takes photos of. These tiny pieces look completely different in the photos. Our piece is from the body of work he did where he would pour water through the pieces he built. If you didn't know it was a photograph, you would think it was a painting of the underground crypts of Rome. More than likely the actual piece he photographed was not bigger than a shoebox. This next body of work is miniature architectural landscapes of neighborhoods down to the landscape and swing sets. They are just amazing. The one above was my favorite.
Always good to get out and spend some time in the galleries. The hardest part is not buying everything you like. The art world is going through a strange time. Many of the galleries in the Chelsea are not going to make it or have already closed. The ones that survive will be the people making an impact in the art world for the next ten years. Rents are down and the survivors can benefit from that. There is also a push to figure out how to use the Internet to change the commerce business of art. I had reservations about how big that can actually get. I believe that Jen Bekman has figured it out with emerging artist prints and limited editions of bigger name artists at really good prices and options for everyone to collect. Anywhere from $20 – $2000. Not $10,000 pieces. Even yesterday when I stopped by the place where I get my stuff framed, the woman in there was singing the praises of 20×200 and how you can spend hours on the site and she has been able to collect for the price she can afford. It could have been an ad for 20X200. Made me so happy for Jen.
Keep your eyes open in the art world. I have been talking to a variety of people who are trying to tap into that world and try to make money in the online world. If I were a betting man, I'd still be placing my chips on Jen.