Top left: Installation view of “Richard Learoyd: Curious” at the Pace Gallery
Top Center: “Naked Man, Back View” from Lucian Freud: Monumental” at Acquavella Gallery / Top Right: Detail of “The Martyrdom of Icarus” at “Raqid Shaw: Landscapes” at the Pace Chelsea / Bottom Left: “The Martyrdom of Icarus” by Raqid Shaw / Bottom center: “Self-Portrait as St. Sebastian” by Egon Schiele at the Neue Galerie / Bottom right: “Les Paul Custom ” Electric Guitar painted by Keith Richards 1957; painted 1968 at “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
“Beaux knows art? Beaux… you ain’t know diddley!”
In the Studio
with Artist Frank Whipple
Oh snap! If you thought the art world was sedate, think again. Nothing in the art world is greeted with more fanfare than the arrival of spring, and with it, the bold unfurling of color, indecipherable mark making, boisterous art world groupies, an occasional smoking jacket and the raucous sound of heavy metal – what? Heavy metal? I’m talking about the succession of art happenings that bring to the fore, works of art – and guitars – old and new – that dazzle, electrify and stop us in our tracks. The New York art world is rife with all manner of mediums and as the famous Chuck Berry quipped: “I grew up thinking art was pictures until I got into music and found I was an artist and didn’t paint.” Let’s begin, shall we?
The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents: “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll”
Nahmad Contemporary presents “Jean-Michel Basquiat: Xerox”
“I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life.” – Jean-Michel Basquiat
“MP” 1984-85, Acrylic and Xerox collage on canvas / The estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat
Under the curatorial eye of Dieter Buchhart, Nahmad Contemporary brings together more than twenty works previously unseen by Jean-Michel Basquiat in “Jean-Michel Basquiat: Xerox”. This treasure trove incorporates Xerox copies and the use of postcards. The artist duplicates images, musings, scrawls and doodlings to create an exciting new language. It is psychic mark-making at play and sheds light into his thinking process. Seeing the scope of the show reminds a visitor of Robert Rauschenberg in that this young maverick also incorporated found objects such as wooden boxes and barnyard doors into his practice.
Video of “Red Joy” 1984, Acrylic, Oilstick and Xerox collage on canvas and “He Was Crazy” 1979, Mixed Media and Xerox collage on canvas.
The Pace Gallery presents “Richard Learoyd: Curious”
“I decide if something is good or bad, then I live with it. You have to be brutal with yourself. It’s only you who can make those decisions and I make them instantaneously.” – Richard Learoyd
“Flowers, Day 2” 2019 Gelatin silver print
There’s something very poetic in the deceptively simple compositions of photographer Richard Learoyd. “Curious” at the Pace Gallery, spread over the span of two floors, records the movement of a horse, a vase of flowers, portraits, demolished motor vehicles and the magnificence of Big Sur and Yosemite. The effect is breathtaking. He records the progress of a vase of ranunculus over the course of a few days as well as arresting portraiture. His palette, though subtle, juxtaposes muted greys against the shock of crimson, peach and saffron.
“His in-studio custom built camera obscura contains two room-like chambers connected by a bellows with an inset lens. Working with lifochrome color-reversal paper, Learoyd uses the camera obscura to render a single positive, unique image with minute detail without film negatives or digital technology.”
– Statement, the Pace Gallery
Installation view of “Curious”, The Pace Gallery
The galleries of the Pace, with their eloquent architecture, winding staircase and quiet open spaces provide the best viewing for Leoroyd’s obsessive fastidious eye.
The Neue Galerie presents “The Self-Portrait: From Schiele to Beckmann”
A rainy Friday night did not deter a reverential crowd from packing the Neue Galleries’ First Friday Free Admission Night. The reward for doing so was rich. One can’t resist the urge to revisit the highly sensual drawings and paintings of mainstays Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele but it was “The Self-Portrait: From Schiele to Beckmann” that caused clamor. Under-the-radar painters such as Wilhelm Heise, Felix Nussbaum, Ludwig Meidner and Johan Christian Ruprecht delivered knock out stunners. No show is complete without the work of Max Beckmann. There were several portraits of Beckmann, at home in a smoking jacket, holding a cigar and looking as dapper as ever. The foreheads depicted in portraits executed by Ludwig Meidner should have a webpage all their own. I was struck by his jagged and jaunty lines. Though a majority of portraits are from the last century, the individuality of the sitters, their humanity and the pathos of the era shine through. To select one or two portraits for this article was a difficult thing to do given the wide selection of sheer talent.
Slide 1: “Wilhelm Heise “Fading into Spring (The Artist at his Worktable)” 1926
Slide 2: Egon Schiele “Self-Portrait as St. Sebastian” 1914 Pencil on paper 32.3 cm x 48.3 cm.
Slide 3: Felix Nussbaum “Self-Portrait with a Shroud” 1942 Oil on canvas 51 x 60.5 cm.
Slide 4: Ludwig Meidner “Self-Portrait” Ludwig Meidner VIII)”, 1920 drypoint and tonal wiping on heavy wove paper
Acquavella Gallery presents “Lucian Freud: Monumental”
“The aura given out by a person or object is as much a part of them as their flesh.” – Lucian Freud
Acquavella’s magnificent show “Lucian Freud: Monumental” centers around the artist and his model Leigh Bowery. Bowery – an Australian performance artist, club promoter and fashion designer – was the muse behind Freud’s iconic painting “Naked Man, Back View” 1991-92 Oil on canvas. This piece has long graced the galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The artist started painting him in the early 1990’s and was impressed with Bowery’s abundance of flesh and ample girth. Through Bowery, Freud was introduced to Sue Tilley (aka “Big Sue”) who also posed for a number of sittings. She appears in his paintings asleep or at rest in his studio.
Besides Sue and Leigh, the artist painted his longtime assistant David Dawson. It is interesting to note that even if Freud was painting the background or floorboards, he insisted on having the model present.
This show captures years of mastery in painting, a love of craft and the unflinching portraits of people who inhabited his sphere, their sheer humanity and stark physicality. This is a show not to miss!
Detail of “Benefits Supervision Sleeping” 1995 Oil on canvas / Installation view of “Lucian Freud: Monumental” Acquavella Gallery
The Pace Gallery presents “Raqib Shaw: Landscapes of Kashmir”
“I really don’t give a fuck about the so-called contemporary art world.” – Raqib Shaw
“The Four Seasons: Spring” 2018-19 Acrylic and enamel liner on birchwood / Portrait of the artist in 2010
Born in Calcutta, Raqib Shaw is a London based painter who paints intricate landscapes inlaid with vibrantly colored jewels. In an interview given three years ago, it was said that the artist had “converted an old factory in South Peckham into a home and studio, was surrounded by dogs, myriad staff, an exquisitely kept bonsai collection and endless reserves of champagne.” (Studio International by Rosanna McLaughlin August 26, 206) The works drip with exuberant color, enamel inlaid and rich detail. The artist does a series “The Four Seasons” as well as a self-portrait in the woods.
The exhibition showcases Shaw’s first work in the long tradition of landscape painting signifying a new direction for…the Kashmiri artist. Drawing inspiration from his childhood memories of Kashmir and the nature and architecture of the Indian subcontinent, Shaw has mined and reinvisioned his own personal history through the compulsively-detailed, meticulously-painted, emotionally-potent works. – Statement, The Pace Gallery
Bridget Donahue presents Jessi Reaves “II”
“It seems that for most people craft implies some level of mastery…But there’s also the flipside, craft can be crude and primitive or childlike.” – Jessi Reaves
Left: “Permanent Single Action” 2019 Oak, sawdust, wood glue, nylon string, wood and wicker / Center: “Walking up was getting into discipline, nyc stick shelf” 2019 Metal, plexiglass, sawdust, wood glue, plastic, nyc stick, fabric and zippers 68 ½ x 99 x 32 in. / Right: “Take it from someone who’s been there before cabinet with heart doors”, 2019 Metal, wood, leather, foam, thread, plexiglass, paint, ceramic, sawdust, wood glue 78 x 42 x 27 in.
Video 1: Installation view of Jessi Reaves “II”
“Blue Heart Shelf” 2019 Wood and metal chairs, woven fabric,
paint, plexiglass, sawdust, wood glue 96 x 21 x 30 in.
“Redemption Island standing table” 2019 Plexiglass, leather, wood, fabric, sawdust,
wood glue, glass, rubber, driftwood 42 ¼ x 45 x 38 ½ in.
“Vicious circle wall lamp” 2019 Wicker, metal, paint, sawdust, wood glue,
fabric, driftwood, lamp and wiring 50 x 16 x 23 in.