Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chelsea Roundup

By Charles Kessler

Richard Serra is one of those artists, like Julian Schnabel and Jeff Koons, that I hate to love. I mean the guy is such a pompous jerk, but as I wrote  in a recent post, his obnoxious personality goes hand in hand with the chutzpa needed to make such powerful work.

This new work is massive sculpture -- more non-utilitarian architecture than sculpture, really. It practically touches the (very high) ceiling of Gagosian's 24th Street space, and it fills the entire space. As you walk through the labyrinth of massive steel walls that sometimes tilt threateningly overhead and other times squeeze you into narrow spaces, there are surprises along the way -- a sudden opening or an unexpected volume curving in a new direction. This is not at all like his past, more minimal, work -- it's very varied, beautiful, even artful. If you can't get there to experience it, the next best thing is this installation video.

The Paul Kasmin Gallery, 293 Tenth Avenue (at 27th Street) has a handsome show of Frank Stella's early work.
Frank Stella, Untitled, 1966, acrylic and fluorescent alkyd on canvas, 64 x 128 inches.
Like Serra, Stella has changed from his early minimal work. But I also think there's been a change in the perception of this early work, and this show corroborates it. What looked so minimal and non-art when it was made now looks complicated and down right beautiful, if not out and out decorative.


Another good show of older work is the paintings of the late Milton Resnick at Cheim and Read (547 West 25th Street). This show focuses on what I think is Resnick's best, the work he did from 1959 to 1963. Yet again, what seemed like minimal, monochromatic work, is now perceived as juicy, painterly, and lush.
Milton Resnick, Straw, 1982, oil on canvas, 80x60inches. (Click to enlarge).

1 comment:

Carl Belz said...

For sure, three pros--old, older, and oldest, but pretty impressive nonetheless; that is, if, like me, you go for that kind of stuff.