Chelsea: The Famous (or at least somewhat well-known)
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.
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.
I was especially drawn to these simple architectural prints.
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”.
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.
This many-layered graffiti piece is huge. Lots of energy.
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.
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?
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.
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.