Last week, RxArt enjoyed a private tour of Keith Haring: 1978-1982, currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum. Hosted by Artnet, the tour was led by Gracie Mansion, one of the first art dealers to set up shop on the Lower East side in the 1980's and currently the Senior Specialist in Modern and Contemporary Art at Artnet.
The exhibition spans Haring's career from when he first arrived in New York City through when he opened his studio and started to create public and political art on the street. The exhibition includes 155 works on paper, videos of Haring at work, and over 150 archival objects, including rarely seen sketchbooks, journals, exhibition flyers, posters, subway drawings, and documentary photographs.
Holton Rower's first solo exhibition in New York opened at The Hole on April 28th. A stark contrast to the bare white walls, Holton's psychedelic pour paintings erupt from the walls in a wild array of colors. Rower creates these paintings by pouring doctored paint onto plywood. Though the process seems simplistic, it yields beautiful and unexpected results: paintings that look like coral, geodes, petrified wood, surfaces of distant planets, marble, the Aurora Borealis and more. See photos below!
On Wednesday evening Ryan McGinley showcased his newest work, Animals and Grids, at both Team Gallery locations. Animals featured nude studio portraits of friends and models with their animal of choice, leading to humorous, beautiful, occasionally painful, and generally unpredictable results. Grids, a much more emotional and intimate-feeling body of work, focuses on close-up portraits of young fans at concerts.
Atlas Sound played a brief but fun set on the rooftop of the Wooster Street location, which was shut down but then moved into the gallery. See below for more photos and video!
A crowded Wooster St.
With New York's unpredictable weather swings, it seems only fitting that the work currently on view at Show Room makes use of the seasonable effects. Thomas Kovachevich's show, Alpenglow, is breathtakingly beautiful in its simplicity. The long, narrow entranceway is lined with monotone, nearly geometrical shapes obscured by a layer of cotton parchment. Because of their translucence, the pieces invite closer inspection; I found myself perched awkwardly trying to peer (unsuccessfully) between the layers of parchment. The pieces are reminiscent of Kazimir Malevich's Suprematist works, if his strong shapes and bold colors were to be occluded and softened by a layer of fog. Kovachevich seems here to introduce the concept of the natural environment's impact on the viewer's perception of manmade materials, which continues in the gallery's main room.
Show Room defines the exhibition's title, Alpenglow, as the "optical process that creates glowing colors observed in the sky near mountains. Humidity and temperature can alter the color. It is also known to induce contemplation." With this definition in mind, Kovachevich's works in the main gallery space assume characteristics of the natural landscape, altered by the other, unseen, medium in the room: the air itself.
In the naturally-lit space, Kovachevich has taken the simplest of materials - white packing tape and grosgrain ribbon - and created three separate pieces that feel at once sculptural and painterly. Each piece consists of long strips of grosgrain ribbon pinned at the top and bottom over a thicker piece of packing tape. Hung in a row, they create a striped square of color that morphs both as one moves through the space and as the humidity of the space itself changes. When the air is dry, the packing tape curls around the ribbons, obscuring the colors and creating fragile paper cylinders around the ribbons. However, when the humidity increases, the tape lies flat against the wall and allows the colors to truly burst forth. Each piece of tape behaves differently, so one may catch glimpses of color peeking through a gap in the "tube", while other ribbons lie fully exposed.
Kovachevich's choice of materials is particularly interesting: the packing tape and grosgrain ribbon both suggest the wrapping or encapsulating of something. Kovachevich has imbued the materials with new meaning, creating something that speaks to externality and an open landscape while defying the interiority of a gallery space.
Below are installation shots, courtesy of Show Room. The show is only on view until Sunday, April 15th - don't miss it!
I was happy to be in Atlanta recently, in time to see Brian Donnelly's (better know as KAWS) solo show at the High Museum of Art (on view until May 20th).
Entering the museum plaza, I was greeted by the familiar sight of KAWS' "Passing Through" Companion, which stood in front of The Standard New York last summer. The large sculpture could only begin to prepare me for a museum bursting with KAWS' paintings, sculptures and drawings. Brian is a wonderful friend of RxArt and I have long been a fan of his sophisticated but playful aesthetic.
A 22-foot high site-specific mural greets visitors at the entrance to the Weiland pavilion. If you cross the Renzo Piano bridge leading to the atrium of the original Richard Meier building, you see a fabulous triptych installed near the top of the space. I circled up the ramp towards the top of the atrium to get closer to the huge fluorescent painting. An upper gallery adjacent to the atrium was filled entirely with tondo paintings and another with fabulous drawings, some of which I can't get out of my head - not that that is a problem!
It was so much fun to see KAWS' work in a major museum show. I am thrilled that we will have the opportunity to work with Brian on a site-specific hospital installation in the near future. Watch our website for more information as the project develops.
With the weather in New York tending towards the dreary, rainy, and slushy in late February, our Vitamin D-deprived minds are longing for sunnier climes. In lieu of a week in the Caribbean, the next best thing is to walk down the block from RxArt's space to the Duro Olowu exhibit at Salon 94 Freemans. The show, beautifully curated by the Nigerian-born, London-based fashion designer Olowu, is a treasure trove of contemporary art, furniture, fashion, jewelry, books, and photography by the likes of Juergen Teller, Hamidou Maiga, Laurie Simmons, Philip Kwame Apagya, and Lorna Simpson among others, all of which is set against brilliant pops of colorful vintage West African textiles. All of these elements coalesce to transform the small space into a cabinet of curiosities that makes lingering indoors a pleasure.
Some of our favorite pieces include handpainted book covers by Glenn Ligon created specifically for Olowu, mirrors by architect David Adjaye, glazed ceramic milk crates by Mattias Merkel Hess, and the arresting studio portraiture of Malian photographer Hamidou Maiga. Of the eclectic mixture, Olowu states on Salon 94's site: "My work, like my eye, is certainly international in its aesthetic, offbeat yet focused. As such, I am always open to the surprise of the new, the technique and skill of the past and the ability of fashion and art to challenge preconceived ideas of taste and culture."
See photos below the break and better yet, check out the show before it closes March 31! All photos courtesy of Salon 94.
On Sunday I went up to MoMA to see the highly-anticipated Cindy Sherman retrospective. A master of disguise, Cindy Sherman has assumed a multitude of roles throughout her career, both in front of the camera—as a housewife, aristocrat or clown—and behind it—as a photographer, stylist, and art director.
From her groundbreaking series "Untitled Film Stills" (1977-80) (Sherman in stereotypical female roles inspired by 1950s and 1960s films), her ornate history portraits (1989-90) (in which she poses as aristocrats and milkmaids in the manner of Old Master paintings), and her larger-than-life society portraits from 2008 that address the representation of aging in the context of contemporary obsessions with youth and status, Sherman styles herself into female archetypes circulated by our image-driven culture.
The Cindy Sherman retrospective is open at MoMA until June 11th. Be sure to check it out!
Saturday night artist André Saraiva opened 'Love Letters', his first-ever solo exhibition in New York. The playful and charming show includes graffitied french mailboxes and a series watercolor love notes. Incorporating quotes by Jacques Prévert and Henry Miller and painting scenes of everyday life, André invites the viewer into his world.
See more below the cut!
RxArt mourns the loss of bookseller John McWhinnie, who died tragically in a water accident while on vacation in the British Virgin Islands last Friday. A friend and key supporter of RxArt, John served on the benefit committee for multiple galas and generously donated artwork to the auctions throughout the years. His kaleidoscopic knowledge of books and art was unparalleled, and his kindness and loyalty will never be forgotten.
In the first group show of the year, Casey Kaplan brought together 13 artists for the group exhibition Rotary Connection, organized by gallery director Loring Randolph. Artists include RxArt friend Andrew Kuo, Julia Dault, Benoit Maîre, Marlo Pascual, and Isabelle Cornaro. The result is a fun multidisciplinary show exhibiting the diversity of the New York contemporary art scene.
Golden Girl, Julia Dault
Self-Portrait, Andrew Kuo
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