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Silvia Bächli: further.evolves. At Peter Freeman

I’ve been thinking about this show off and on for about the last two weeks. In my head it’s been one of those shows that is hard to pin down. At times it’s sublime and at others it’s almost too obvious. Either way I’ve been thinking about it since I spent some time with the work.

The work sits on paper, sometimes there and sometimes not. Marks (or should I say watercolor brush strokes) are both quiet and strong, as well as almost non-existent. It is this elusive quality of the work that has kept me thinking and reflecting on the exhibition.

While Ms. Bächli ‘s work switches between abstraction and a type of realism it is this transparent and transcendent touch that rewards the viewer.

 

Peter Freeman
140 Grand Street
New York, NY

Exhibition Dates: Thursday, September 10–Saturday, October 24, 2015

 

The Downtown Decade: NYC 1975-1985

DowntownDecade_web_758_500

Curator Lauren Miller has put together an interesting show of art, photographs and club ephemera from 1975 through 1985 – what is now looked back as “The Downtown Decade”. I’m sure you know that downtown of the seventies/eighties was far from the upscale shopping paradise it has now become. New York was broke and downtown had no police presence to really speak of. This translated into low rents and left the residents free to create and to amuse themselves as they wished.

This “poverty” (both real and municipal) led to an artist creative class that stretched across multiple practices and brought oblique influences into new ideas that would end up creating new art forms. A few years later – the “Reagan Eighties” would start and the money would pour into downtown. Helping put an end to a decade of unprecedented creativity in lower Manhattan.

Rare at Glen Horowitz Bookseller
17 West 54th Street
New York, NY 10019

Exhibition Dates: Thursday, September 10–Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Curious Case of Chuck Connelly

One of the current shows at Mana Contemporary this fall is; Francesco Clemente, George Condo, Chuck Connelly, Julio Galán, and Daniel Lezama in the Pellizzi Family Collections. That’s quite a long title – but it is honest and descriptive. The show covers three floors of the recently opened art space, an art space that seems that it has the ability to grow and continue to do so until northern New Jersey is one large arts outpost.

Francesco Clemente and George Condo are artists that almost everyone knows and understands the work, Clemente is routinely shown at Mary Boone and Condo, whose Mental States at the New Museum was very well received. While Lezama and Galan are solid paintings, I was most intrigued by the inclusion of Chuck Connelly in the show.

Connelly was an ascending art star in the early eighties – showing at Annina Nosei Gallery alongside Jean Michel Basquait, Barbara Kruger among a host of others. While Mary Boone has “won” the narrative as the hot gallery of the eighties – it is clear that Annina Nosei was priming a number of artists for great success. Chuck Connelly had three solo shows in the space of four years at Nosei between 1984 and 1987. As well as a number of high profile commissions, and his artwork played major part in a hollywood movie (New York Stories – “Life Lessons” directed by Martin Scorsese) So what happened?

A place to start with that is the unfortunately titled HBO documentary Chuck Connelly “The Art of Failure”. According to the documentary as well as word of mouth, Connelly fell into depression that along with his particular temperament and possibly alcoholism sent him into a trajectory that eventually cost him collectors, galleries, and eventually his wife.

Connelly’s work (of the 1980’s) speaks volumes about painting during the run up to the art boom of the eighties, it’s thick and physical, it shows a resonance with Soutine and Beckman. Neither of which I’m sure Connelly would call inspirational. None the less it is that physicality of image that continues to resonate strongest in his work from that period.

Chuck Connelly, Roller Coaster, 1984, Oil on Canvas (above)
Chuck Connelly, Breakfast, 1985, Oil on Canvas (Below)

 

References:
Mana Contemporary: Francesco Clemente, George Condo, Chuck Connelly, Julio Galán, and Daniel Lezama in the Pellizzi Family Collections.
Chuck Connelly exhibition catalog (1985) at Annina Nosei

“Super Thursday” 2014

The phrase “Super Thursday” always makes me smile and at the same time while I think it’s a silly construct for an evening of art openings, at the same time it really is aptly named. I’m going to assume I’ll be seeing you and the few thousand or so people who make up our little community thursday eve.

Here are a few of my highlights – I’m sure other people have a few ideas of their own.

Allan McCollum “The Shapes Project: Perfect Couples” at Petzel Gallery
Yearning Upwards, Painting Trees at The Painting Center
Nick Cave “Rescue” at Jack Shainman Gallery
Jennifer Wynne Reeves “Place” At BravinLee Projects
Gary Panter “Dream Town” at Fredericks & Freiser Gallery
Kwang Young Chun Exhibition at Hasted Kraeutler
Roxy Paine “Denuded Lens” at Marianne Boesky Gallery
Helene Appel Exhibition at James Cohan Gallery

Saturday and Sunday night have a few notable things as well.

Satan Ceramics at Salon 94 Freemans (LES)
Cory Arcangel “tl;dr” at Team Galllery (SOHO)
Ryan McGinley “Yearbook” at Team Galllery (SOHO)
James Bishop Exhibition at David Zwirner (Chelsea)
Carl Ostendarp “Blanks” at Elizabeth Dee (Chelsea)

Truthfully I’m not a listings service – but there are a ton of great shows this September – see you there.

 

Above: Allan McCollum – The Shapes Project

Banality as Your Saviour, Jeff Koons at the Whitney

There are people who love and people who hate the artwork of Jeff Koons, oddly enough I’ve always been on both sides of that equation. I’m less enthused about his place in the canon of the collectors market, but that is a completely different beast. So let’s do something that is tough to do when we talk about Koons, let’s ignore (for the moment) the money and collectors market.

To me the artwork that was made while Koons was ascending to the higher reaches of the art market are still interesting to me. I’m referring to the vacuums in vitrines, the basketballs, and the bronze inflatable’s. To many the inflatable’s is the location where Koons starts to get lost a bit. Unlike other sculptures Koons was making at the time these are not directly out of consumer culture (as a ready-made). These bronzes stay away from the presentation of the real thing – effectively these bronzes would kill the user who, for instance used a bronze life raft as a life saving device. Any of the basketballs or vacuums could easily be used in any other setting.

Staying on the subject of both the Basketballs and the Vaccums, these works have an oddity that takes them from something in a box (of sorts) to something else entirely. This small-scale industrial nature seems to me to echo Donald Judd – his kind of small scale and quirkiness of production. Similar to Judd, his use of color is specific and careful; it is this nature that will eventually be discarded as Koons’ work turns a corner to become focused on spectacle and monumentality. In making this move – away from the quirky, small production feel, Koons finds new territory that is more akin to what Hollywood would make as art.

By the time of the “Made in Heaven” photographs Koons seemed to have lost his way completely (some would also say found his way – as the works that would Koons would make, would be the works that the mega-collectors would start to find most interesting).

An Ending.
The fact is that Koons is loved by the collectors and the few dealers that sell his work. However that love seems to end there (for the most part). Ask most artists and critics and after they stop bitching about the money aspect of the work, and very little gets said about the artwork.

I’m reminded of this last quote from the movie “Patton” when it comes to the bravura around Koons, I think it’s a rather telling quote.

For over a thousand years, Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph – a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeters and musicians and strange animals from the conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children, robed in white, stood with him in the chariot, or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror, holding a golden crown, and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.

This show at the Whitney is the conquerors slave holding that crown.

Pearl Paint Closes Iconic NYC location

Julian Schnabel: Years ago, I was down there with my cousin’s wife Corky. She was wild — she wore makeup on her legs, and she had a streak in her hair like Yvonne De Carlo in The Munsters. She liked to paint. I had overalls on with just a T-shirt and looked like whatever. It was 1973 probably. I was making these Projected Drawing Test paintings that were obviously very different than Brice Marden or Ellsworth Kelly’s or anything else people were thinking about in 1973 or ’74. I’ve never shown those paintings. I had one at the Whitney Museum when I was a student — perhaps they’ll end up somewhere to be seen at some time.

We were trying to buy a bunch of supplies with my cousin Jesse’s credit card. They looked at the credit card, and then they looked at us and thought maybe we stole the card, so they called Jesse up. He was a doctor who became the head of trauma at St. Vincent’s. They said, “There’s somebody here with this credit card and we want to know if it belongs to you.” He said, “Well, does the woman have dyed blonde hair and fake eyelashes and look like she stepped out of the backstage of some kind of silent movie, and is she with some guy who has wild hair and is kind of dressed like a bum?”

“Yeah, that’s them.”

“Yeah, that’s my cousin and my wife. It’s okay, they can charge it on my card.”

From Vulture: http://www.vulture.com/2014/04/6-new-york-artists-on-the-closing-of-pearl-paint.html

The Next 365 Days

Leave it to New York Magazine to point us in the direction(s) that we all need to be going for the next year.

As part of the current issue “How to Make it in the Art World” come across as a typical pedestrian guide to half truths and ultimate fallacy. Unless it’s right and then it’s brilliant. The articles are here: http://nymag.com/arts/art/rules/.

I thought you might enjoy and even possibly use this handy guide to the must attend global events for the next year.