• 5.3 Miles away from Greene Naftali

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  • 5.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    really cool art space in chelsea that you can miss if you're not paying attention.

    when you get inside the building you'll see an old-fashioned elevator to your left. the elevator operator will ask you what floor you want: greene naftali is on the 8th floor. once on the 8th floor you will walk down a long hallway that eventually opens up into a large room with ample window space (the gallery contains more than one room but this is what you will first see). it is a beautiful gallery that showcases a lot of interesting artists. definitely a must if you're in the chelsea area.

    side note: on almost every floor below there are multiple galleries, so if you have extra time and want to check out additional artwork, ask the elevator operator to take you down to one of the other floors before leaving.

  • 5.0 star rating

    This gallery is hard to get to. You have to wait for a manually operated elevator that usually smells a little and go up 8 floors in an often crowded car. But it's totally worth it. You enter into a long hallway that then opens up into one of the best and most open gallery spaces in Chelsea. My favorite show ever was Rachel Harrison's show the Help, because it was so funny. And so punchy. I also really like Gelitin's show there last fall but I have no idea how they could have sold any of the work. Anyways, if you want a special gallery experience this place is unique and the place to go.

  • 5.0 star rating
    1 check-in First to Review

    Found video footage shows up in a lot of art these days, but Trisha Baga adds another dimension to it--literally! One of the pieces in her show at Greene Naftali had Olympic athletes, and fireworks, stadium concerts, and stuff that looked camera-test footage from YouTube spliced together in an order determined by the artist's private network of associations. But because the images were extruded with 3D techniques it felt less introverted and subjective than a lot of the poetic video montage I've seen in the last few years. When the runner lunged toward me in his warm-up stretch and the soundtrack surged it was hard for me not to feel engaged, even though I wasn't really sure of what the image meant. There was also another 3D video, an animation with characters in conversation, and it required a different set of glasses. Signs on the walls noted that the glasses were "specially synced" to each video. There's not a time component to the way the glasses work so "synced" is not the right word, but I understood what they meant and was very impressed by the technical work that went into preparing the videos. More importantly, the different sets of glasses gave the videos a sense of being anchored in space: you really had to move into their zone and stay there for a while with the glasses on in order to appreciate a work. Maybe Baga's next step is virtual reality helmets! (Just kidding... although, who knows?) The whole gallery was darkened, and viewers had to navigate the various glowing sections between and around the two main projections. There were some sculptural video installations to walk through, with projections bouncing off plates or through pieces of broken glass, and weird little assemblages without any digital components just cluttering the floor. These pieces related the digital moving images to everyday objects in a way that suggested a bodily presence for the video without relying on the technological novelties deployed in the 3D works. I doubt they would look that great on their own, with the lights on, but they really added some depth and fullness to the show as a whole.

    I'd say Trisha Baga's show was a four-star experience for me, but thinking back to some of the great exhibits I've seen at Greene Naftali in the last year I have to give the gallery five stars overall. This fall Gelitin put big weird sculptures on pedestals that were rigged so when people pushed levers or buttons on them (as they were invited to do) the sculptures fell off and crashed on the floor. I missed the opening so I didn't get to see the sculptures in their original, untarnished state, just the wreckage several weeks later. So often when messy art gets put in a Chelsea gallery, the installation sanitizes and sterilizes it, putting ugliness and failure on a pedestal for people to ooh and aah at. That always makes me feel a little queasy. Gelitin knocked ugliness and failure off the pedestal--literally!--and when I walked through the gallery I felt like these qualities were all around me, fresh and nasty and alive. Then there was Haegue Yang's show last spring, of her hanging sculptures assembled from Venetian blinds, cameras, and light bulbs. This had a totally different feel than Trisha Baga and Gelitin's lively and funny exhibitions-- it was beautiful, ethereal, serene. As I moved around the sculptures the light skipped down the blinds, and the angles of the camera lenses reminded me of the limits of my perspective. Greene Naftali is on the eighth floor a building, which makes it more of a hassle to get to than Chelsea's sidewalk-level galleries--you have to ride up in an antiquated elevator with an operator and there's usually a bit of a wait. There were times when I thought about going to see an exhibition there but skipped it because I knew it would take so long. But when I looked out the big windows at the city skyline and Hudson River nearing dusk and saw the soft light coming in and filtering through Haegue Yang's sculptures, the high location no longer seemed like a drawback. It can actually be a huge plus.

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