The New York art gallery stage is back to the party
As COVID-19’s grip on New York City loosens, artistic events have started popping up just as emphatically as an artist sticks slides in your face. Some have stuck in my memory, such as the May show at Kaatsbaan, a cultural center on a former horse farm frequented by Roosevelt in Tivoli, with a barn designed by Stanford White.
This one was curated by Hilary Greene and Jen Dragon and was predominantly sculptural, including hanging horsehair and vine installations by Millicent Young, the minimalist piece by Gregory Steel and three carved stone pieces by Kenichi Hiratsuka, l one of the most significant works that many New Yorkers walk regularly – the intricate 100-foot-long, 16-foot-wide piece carved into the sidewalk of 25 Bond Street in Manhattan.
A few screenings have signaled that the art world in Manhattan is also growing impatient.
On May 23, Gerard Malanga, one of Andy Warhol’s first key associates, presented a book, The new melancholy and other poems, and an outdoor screening at Elizabeth Street Garden, a community garden between Prince and Spring, of his 1967 film, In search of the miraculous. Travel back in time in its purest form, somewhat overshadowed by learning that the Remarkable Garden is under threat and that Alan Midgette, famous for portraying himself as a fake Warhol at college events, had just died in Woodstock.
Among those spotted in the substantial crowd was Dagon James, who will post Gerard Malanga’s secret cinema, and the legendary Danny Fields, Edie Sedgwick’s roommate and discoverer of the Ramones, whom he took to the UK, where they helped start punk rock.
And the second screening? This was Beth B’s docu on the in-your-face performance artist, Lydia Lunch: The war is never over. It was hardcore, excellent. Later that evening, some of us rushed to where Blake Sandberg, the Texas-born Brooklyn painter, was performing with his rock band, Aliens, when the downtown hot spot reopened. city, Bowery Electric. Yes, the joints are popping again.
Nadine Johnson’s event for ZHA Close Up, the exhibition of the work of the late great architect Zaha Hadid, now at MAM, the Shanghai Museum of Modern Art, took place in the extraordinary space of 528 East 28th Street , the only Hadid building in New York. There were a lot of people. Among the floating faces were Tony Shafrazi and Conrad de Kwiatkowski, artist son of Henryk, the late financier, player and legendary horse breeder, and people from MAM including Heiko Stober and Shai Baitel, the artistic director.
Nejma Beard kept her head down in Montauk, working on the estate of the late Peter Beard, specifically helping gallery owner Pilar Ordovas put on a focused show. “It’s called Wildlife and it’s about the friendship between Francis Bacon and Peter Beard, a friendship that started when they met in the mid-1960s, ”Ordovas told me. “It was incredibly deep. Peter made a series of works in 1972 which he sent to Bacon and took pictures of him in his studio. Bacon allowed him to photograph work in progress, which he really didn’t allow anyone to do. The exhibition, which is now in Ordovas’ gallery in London, will be in his New York gallery next spring.
New York Galleries are opening up spaces across the state; the Fridman Gallery, for example, just opened in Beacon, NY. Why beacon? “It’s a cultural center,” said Ilya Fridman. “There is Dia Beacon, of course. But it’s also a complete mental break from the hustle and bustle of the city. There is a post-Covid atmosphere in the place. It’s more contemplative.
Contemplative might not be quite the word to describe what’s going on in the Hamptons. A local law passed in Southampton last year says vacant storefronts in Southampton Village should put artwork in their windows to brighten things up. This law – a great idea for Death Valley that spans Bleecker Street, by the way – would seem unnecessary in East Hampton, which is bursting with art everywhere.
Chase Contemporary, which had a pop-up in Montauk last summer, opened an East Hampton space at 66 Newtown Lane last weekend with an ultra-Manhattan show, Shadow Man, dark figure paintings of the late Richard Hambleton, such as those he would paint on crumbling walls in the East Village. “East Hampton has a concentration of wealth and art collectors,” says Isabel Sullivan of Chase. “It was amazing.”
Chase sits next to the East Hampton location for New York’s Skarstedt Gallery, which features an exhibition entirely devoted to Warhol, including a remarkable early self-portrait, and on the other side of Skarstedt was another household name. , Sotheby’s. Well, the auction house has been running a public gallery for private sales in Manhattan for several years now, but it’s part of its main building in York. The East Hampton space is elegantly baffling in that it is only a gallery and block with minimalist pieces by Dan Flavin, Sol LeWitt, and Donald Judd.
Also nearby was Christophe van de Weghe, who spearheaded the city’s influx when he opened a space in East Hampton in April 2020. Van de Weghe, which has two spaces on Madison Avenue, the 76th and 78th, and will open soon. on 521 West 23rd, made East Hampton proud, bringing 14 Basquiats, seven paintings and seven drawings. “It has the hottest market of any artist in the world,” Van de Weghe said.
East Hampton’s gallery district is indeed so alive, with active foot traffic that is far more likely to be potential buyers than onlookers, that it seems natural to wonder if it is sustainable development, just as we wonder to what extent teleworking remains widespread, post-pandemic.
The bigger question remains unknown, but in East Hampton you can at least ask it. “We have a long-term lease on this space,” explains Christopher Pusey of Chase Contemporary. “It makes sense to us. Many of our clients are here.
“I haven’t decided,” said San Francisco gallery owner Jon Berggruen. “London, Palm Beach,” he said. “I don’t really know what we’re going to do. ”
Christophe Van De Weghe does it. “I’m staying. I like it here,” he said. Pretty promising, right?
So let’s go back to the town where Marlborough had a double opening on Wednesday, Wild at Heart on the ground floor of 425 West 25th and A Day At The Beach the first. It was a lively opening. The artists showing their faces included Alice Aycock, Ron Ortner and Ivana Basic, a Serbian creator of irresistible melty ceramics, one of which seems to trigger a Munchian cry. Linda Obuchoska, the fine art photographer – who arrived with cinematographer Mark Brady as I was leaving – told me this was only the second opening she had been to since the virus. Two young women I spoke to separately, Courtney King, a product designer, and Jane Kay, a graphic designer, told me it was their first.
Thursday evening, R! Se, an exhibition of the work of photographer Layla Love, curated by London gallery owner Bailey Lalonde, opened in the private space of Vikas Khanna, mystic and famous chef. It was a benefit for Rise of the Butterfly, Layla Love’s anti-trafficking movement, which will feature the work of twenty other artists and – by the time of disclosure – I’m co-curator. On Friday there was a dinner on Reid Stowe’s Starship Anne schooner, where we watched the paintings he made on his recent trip to and from SpaceX, Texas, the hub of Project Mars. Yes, Manhattan’s art world is back and bouncing back.