Monday, September 20, 2010

Chelsea Gallery Roundup

SW Corner of 21st @ 10th Ave - Text by David Byrne

Thursday night was beautiful and hundreds of galleries opened shows for the new season. The streets were packed. I went to Chelsea Friday, during the day, and it was still bustling. There are a lot of good shows:
LA artists from the sixties and seventies are showing up again. George Herms has a mini retrospective (he's over-due for a major one) at Nyehaus, a gallery that's been exhibiting many of these artists. Herms is in his seventies and seems to be experiencing a great late phase. His new work is very different, and delightful. Here's an example:
GEORGE HERMS, Collagio #01, 2010, Collage, 14 x 11 in, , LOVE pressed
Courtesy, Nyehaus Gallery, New York
On the other hand, two other LA artists from that era have not made much progress. Late works by the late Craig Kauffman at Danese are as beautiful and etherial as ever, and not much different. 
Craig Kauffman, Saging, 2008, acrylic lacquer on vacuum formed plastic, 23.75 x 25.75 x 9.5 inches

John McCracken at Zwirner has made even less progress. I don't know how he can keep doing the same damn thing for fifty years, or why he seems to be so popular, but so it is. 
"50 Years at PACE" is spread out over FOUR venues in Chelsea and one on 57th Street, and that's not enough space for all the great art they have shown over the years. Take that Larry Gagosian! Just to name some of the artists: De Kooning, Rothko, Pollock, Still (what's he doing there? They never showed Still.), Johns, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Elizabeth Murray, Chuck Close, Richard Tuttle, Tom Nozkowski, Tim Hawkinson......
Anton Perich, Andrea Feldman, Max's Kansas City, 1972, printed ca. 1995, 20 x 24 inches (Steven Kasher Gallery).

Two shows about the artists's bar, Max's Kansas City, at Steven Kasher and Loretta Howard, pretty much capture the mixed feelings I have about that era: attracted and repelled. 1965-75 was an intense and exciting time with new ideas tossed around all the time. On the other hand, the drug scene and attitude toward women (well-captured in the videos shown at Kasher) were pretty disgusting. 
JUDY PFAFF, Untitled, 2010, Paper, wood, wire & rod, artificial flowers, 128 x 162 x 48 inches

Another mini-retrospective, and another artist long over-due for a major retrospective, is Judy Pfaff. Her show "Five Decades" can be seen at the Ameringer Gallery. Like Herms, Pfaff's new work is different -- more luxuriously lush and sensual than her past work. Sarah Sze, one of the best of many artists heavily influenced by Pfaff, can be seen at Tanya Bonakdar.


Frank Lloyd said...

Hey Charles,
Hope you and Annie are fine. I
just read your post about the Renato Danese Kauffman show, and found it rather short, dismissive and shallow. In truth, Kauffman's late work as presented at Danese show significant differences at the edges of the "bubble" form as well as the much more metalic coloration. And, what about the oval form with a void in the center? Not to mention the use of another material, glitter. Why not continue to investigate a material and a kind of painting over a long career? Well, we could have a longer discussion if you would take a look at several posts on my blog:
it's easy to see them all by just typing "Craig Kauffman" into the search box.
all best regards, hope you are doing well,

Left Bank Art Blog said...

Good to hear from you -- a voice out of my past.

You're absolutely right, I confess, I was too "short, dismissive and shallow." This was especially unforgivable toward a hard-working artist that had been doing it for some sixty years. It's just that in comparison to Kauffman's burning creativity and awesome talent of the 1950's and 1960's -- well this show was a disappointment.

Since you didn't mention anything, am I to assume you agree with me re. Herms, whom I loved, and McCracken, of whom I was, if anything, more dismissive?

Anyway, congratulations on an excellent blog and gallery. I'm a great fan of Ab Ex ceramics -- I hope you do even more with that work.