Chelsea: The Famous (or at least somewhat well-known)

Bearden 1s

One of the main reasons for my personal gallery crawl on Saturday was to see “Works on Paper” at the Flomenhaft Gallery.  They represent Miriam Schapiro, so I’ve been there before, and their shows always reward my time.  And for me, any show containing master collage artist Romare Bearden is worth seeing.  I had not seen this piece before, a combination of lithograph and collage.  The delicately drawn border is a wonderful contrast to the bold image.

bearden detail 1s

Also in the show were a number of prints by Roger Shimamura.  A Japanese-American who was interned as a child with his family in Idaho after Pearl Harbor, he often explores Asian stereotypes and racism using combinations of traditional and pop imagery.

marilyn s

I was especially drawn to these simple architectural prints.

architecture comp

In anticipation of the Whitney retrospective opening soon, the Paul Kasmin Gallery is showing a group of large works by Frank Stella.  This one provoked a “Wow”.

stella mandala s

I don’t like everything he has done over his long career, but I admire Stella for not repeating himself:  he is still exploring different ways to make art.  I had not seen any of these delicate silver pieces before.  I love the shadows it makes too.

siver swirls s

This many-layered graffiti piece is huge.  Lots of energy.

stella sculpture comp

My daughter loves Chuck Close, but I’ve always been kind of lukewarm about him.  He’s a photorealist, who employs grids to produce his huge portraits.  Sometimes the grids are more visible than others, and in these works at Pace Gallery they are the main ingredient.  Using only cyan, magenta, and yellow pigments, he’s both broken down and layered the colors to produce a really wonderful and exploratory series of portraits.  Yes, I think this technique will appear at some point in my own self portrait series as well.

chuck close comp

Billy Childish is a cult art figure and musician.  I only recently discovered the movement he founded, Stuckism, through a post on The Remodern Review.    So I read through their pages of manifestos…they are rejecting abstraction, and promoting figurative and spiritual art…so many lists of accepted and not accepted ways of doing art (painting is really the only correct medium it seems), so much anti- this and that.  They say they promote amateurism and reject The Art World.  So why the long list of do’s and don’ts?  Everything and anything should be “do” in that case.  And why is Childish showing his paintings at a big Art World gallery like Lehmann Maupin?

childish comp

I guess I was set up to be disappointed, and I was.  The earlier work of Childish I had seen online was colorful and expressive; you could clearly see the line to the influence of Edvard Munch and Van Gogh.  The influence is still kind of there in these paintings, but very diluted.  I personally would be unhappy to have done the figurative and still life work he is showing.  Perhaps the problem is scale; these small photos of the work look much much better than the actual (very) large paintings.  In person they look sloppy, like the artist didn’t really care.

chidish trees 1s

I liked the tree paintings, but again they look much better in a small photo.  All in all, this looks like something Childish slapped together because his important gallery in NYC wanted a show.

In a few days (or maybe next week) I’ll talk about some of the not-so-famous work that I really liked or found interesting.

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About memadtwo

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22 responses to “Chelsea: The Famous (or at least somewhat well-known)”

  1. Marcia Strykowski says :

    Thanks for sharing these interesting selections. I’ll be looking into Childish’s other works. As you say, they look fascinating when viewing them small.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Laura (Createarteveryday) says :

    Thanks for sharing all the photos and information. That graffiti piece, for me, is a standout! Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. DrawingConnections says :

    This is a really informative write up and with your photos – thank you. Bearden and Shimamura are new for me and I’ll now look into them.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sand Salt Moon says :

    Wow, that Stella piece is definitely cool. I’ve see Close’s work in the Philly art museum. It’s nice to read your thorough write up (thanks for all the links!). I’d like to explore Stella more. You make me yearn to go on a museum trip el pronto.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lynz Real Cooking says :

    Thanks for showing us all of these amazing pieces of art! I don’t know much about art but liked reading and looking at the variety here!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. kirkistan says :

    Super interesting post–thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Teresa Robeson says :

    I love your art lesson! It’s like I was there with you in person. I’ve not heard of Roger Shimamura, but I’m definitely going to check out his works. I think I’ll really like them. Like your daughter, I am a fan of Chuck Close (maybe it’s because I saw him first on Sesame Street with my kids, and I have such warm fuzzy memories of that). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sharon Mann says :

    Great tour of the gallery, I also appreciate your comments.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. memadtwo says :

    Beautiful post! I should have been with you.


  10. memadtwo says :

    Great post. And you’re not opinionated at all. Just smart. I actually like what you’ve shown of Childish…will have to look into him.


  11. memadtwo says :

    Oh I forgot I already responded. Crazy day at office after being away, lots of people yelling at me and stuff.


  12. jessevanwagner says :

    I’ve seen Chuck Close’s work before, but I don’t think I’ve ever connected it with the actual artist. I love the way the mind completes and fills in gaps to make the portraits come to life. Very interesting.

    It was cool seeing all the different artists work side by side like that. Such a wide range of talent and inspirations.

    Liked by 2 people

    • memadtwo says :

      Yes, this exhibit made me rethink Chuck Close too. I love the way he used only 3 colors to create the different shades as well. It’s exhausting, but good to see all these different artists in one afternoon. Lots of ideas.


  13. artandmoondreams says :

    Thank you for the informative tour of the exhibits, this was most enjoyable and appreciated your comments, it helped add to sense of being there.

    Liked by 2 people

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