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102 Reviews

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  • 4.0 star rating
    First to Review
    Listed in My Firsts!

    The name of this gallery is so hard for me to remember! I'm always like "McInnes & Nash... Mitchum & Guinness... what's it called?!" So, too many words in the title but other than that this is a solid gallery. Last time I went they had an exhibition of paintings by Keltie Ferris. There was a lot of buzz around this artist but I had never seen her works in person so I was excited to go. I was not disappointed! They are very vivid abstractions, where layers of color and brush stylings play against each other in an electrifying dance. I thought for sure that the bottom layer of these paintings had been printed on with an inkjet, but when I asked a gallery attendant she said, no, the whole thing was painted by the artist by hand.. if I remember correctly, she used a spray nozzle and/or a sponge, which had the effect of muting the movement of her hand. I totally fell for it! Wonderful.

    The space itself is big, airy, and bright, with lots of room to move around and choose your own path for studying the works on display. One of the women at the front desk is always very friendly and eager to answer whatever questions I might have. The other one is not so gregarious. Fair enough. It's not like I'm actually a client who is there to buy something.

  • 4419 Purves St
    Long Island City, NY 11101
    5.0 star rating

    I'm looking at the other reviews for Sculpture Center and thinking, "Wow! What a great bunch of thoughtful, well-written reviews!" It just goes to show that Sculpture Center is a real magnet for intellectual types. It does exciting things that the bigger institutions in the city can't risk and as such it performs an important function in the New York art world. I don't have much to add to what's already been said here, but I wanted to give Sculpture Center some stars!

  • 38 Ludlow Street
    Manhattan, NY 10002
    5.0 star rating
    1 check-in First to Review

    Nice little spot. A rare non-profit in the area, which is partly why the offerings here are often so unlike the other stuff you see in the neighborhood. It is funded by the German government but there is so much more than German art here and you might enjoy it even if you don't have any particular interest in Germany.

    A recent exhibition had work by Adrian Jeftichew. There was a lot going on and I don't even know how to describe the mixture of humor, curiosity, and excitement I felt while walking through the gallery so rather than try to sum it up I'll list some of the themes/motifs: dogs, dog hair, dog-man, human hair, wigs, balloons, prehensile tension, drawings on the wall with ketchup, drawings behind doors, art that's hard to see, art in the bathroom, sculpture with tortilla, animal faces, noses. Pretty interesting, right? I was lucky that the curator was there and he generously walked me through it and made sure I didn't miss anything. He also explained some backstory. Turns out Adrian Jeftichew isn't even a real person, it's a name of a nineteenth-century circus freak (a dog-faced man) and a two-person artistic team took his name for their collaboration, and they also use pieces of his biography in the life of their fictional artist, to present their wild installations as the work of an Eastern European beast-man. So they play with your perception not only on the level of your physical experience in the gallery but also the narrative around it, which, honestly, is usually what people remember and talk about more than the art itself--especially when art is description-defying as theirs. Very cool. Looking forward to seeing what Ludlow 38 does next!

  • 32 East 69th Street
    Manhattan, NY 10021
    5.0 star rating

    I would give this six stars if I could... the Paul McCarthy show there is beyond amazing. This is art that takes questions of representation and the figure head on, without any abstruse conceptual games but with a lot of spirit and guts--the result is a visceral wrenching experience. [Note: This review contains SPOILERS so don't read it if you're going to go see this Paul McCarthy show (closes July 26)] When you walk in you immediately see a young woman, so still that you know it's a sculpture, but so lifelike you have to make sure it's not breathing. She's on a rectangular pedestal, naked, leaning back on her palms, her legs stretched forward and spread. She has a highly expressive vagina that raspberries the viewer, its pouty outer lips loosely gripping the protruding tongue of the inner ones. There are several copies of her, making it all the more uncanny as you begin to recognizes the traces of craftsmanship and artifice.

    But still when I got to the second floor and saw all the monitors showing footage of the casting process, for a split second I couldn't believe that it wasn't animation. They were so HD that this woman, whom I'd seen sculpted downstairs and now alive and moving--the brightly rendered digital image of her body looked UNreal. I spent a good twenty minutes watching the model as she sat still on the podium, surrounded by fabricators and camera men working quickly to capture her image, both on video and in the mold. She got covered in blue goo and caked in plaster... and in the end they finally cut it all off, and she crawled out of her floppy blue skin like a molting snake.

    Finally, I went back downstairs on my way out... and was stopped in my tracks by the sculptures, which I now saw with totally new eyes. These things that had looked so lifelike to me upon first encounter now seemed pathetically fake. I could clearly see all the imperfections, the rubbery properties of the silicone flesh, all the differences between the mold and the model's HD body. Suddenly the whole thing reeked of death. Shivers down my spine.

  • 5.0 star rating
    First to Review

    A new space for Zwirner right next to the old one with a semi-domestic vibe--the entryway is narrow and carpeted, the door closes so tightly it makes a little sucking noise and you feel hermetically sealed inside, and there are warmly earthy wood and stone materials/colorings. There's a second floor and when I went up the stairs I felt like I might stumble across the master bedroom but no, just the office. I imagine that the buildings Zwirner's clients build for showing off their collections look a lot like this one. The shows i've seen here are all classic stuff--Judd, Flavin, Serra, Blinky Palermo--and it looks good here. Hard to complain!

  • 83-22 37th Ave
    Jackson Heights, NY 11372
    4.0 star rating

    The name says it all. The best $4 margaritas you ever had

    We also got some snacks. I would not recommend this. At $7.95 for one avocados' worth the guacamole was way overpriced and not nearly enough quantity for the huge pile of chips they put on the plate. The chicken quesadilla (also $7.95, for six little wedges) was similar in quality to Applebee's. Just stick to the margs and you'll be good

  • 453 W 17th St Ste 3S
    New York, NY 10011
    5.0 star rating
    8/16/2013 Updated review
    1 check-in
    Listed in My Firsts!

    I wanted to update this review, not to change the star count (this is a solidly good gallery, maybe not every show is five stars but definitely in the upper range) but because the character of the gallery has changed a bit in the last year and a half. It used to focus on conceptual work of mid- or late-career artists but more recently it has been showing a lot of younger artists and become a magnet for smart and cool stuff. So it's a good place to visit if you want to learn about art trends. Recent exhibtions have included a really great installation by Sergei Tcherepnin (sp?) a theatrical sound artist, and a group show called "Screens" that featured different sculptural treatments in monitors, putting them in mannequins or shopping bags or shop vitrines, a 1994 Jon Kessler installation using a motorzied billboard apparatus.. there was even a work in the bathroom, which I didn't realize when I went to use it. Surprise! In one corner there was a video mashup of actors in war movies saying "shit" "shit" "shit" and in the toilet, a laminated postcard with a photo of George W. Bush that circled and bobbed as I urinated on it. When I finished up I checked the date of the work on the checklist and it was from 2006--of course. Political work like that gets so dated so quickly. Couldn't they have at least updated it for the current installation? Bush isn't exactly a controversial figure in the art world anyway. It would be much more interesting to piss on Obama.

    5.0 star rating
    2/5/2012 Previous review
    I went to Murray Guy a few weeks ago and saw an exhibit with works by Dan Graham and Corey McCorkle.… Read more
  • 673 Meeker Ave
    Brooklyn, NY 11222
    5.0 star rating
    1 check-in First to Review
    Listed in Culture Vultures

    I did not expect to see ancient Egyptian artifacts in an artist-run gallery in Greenpoint but with Real Fine Arts, you never know. The first time through the gallery I didn't even know what they were, maybe just some outsider-y metallic sculptures inspired by the vitrines of poorly preserved and rusty everyday objects at the Met (seems like a lot of artists are interested in fake museum artifacts these days). Whenever I go to a gallery I always just look at the show first, then go back and consult the checklist later. So when I saw that they really were from Egypt I was amazed! Apparently you can buy these things on eBay. Even before I had learned that bit of information I thought it was a really good, very richly textured show, with various grades of reflectiveness and protruberance on each of the surfaces--paintings, collages, objects, etc. It was all enclosed by a gallery within a gallery, a tight and quiet temporary structure, and walking around it to get to the back in order to view a film on display involved passing through a narrow and dimly lit corridor. This contributed to the sense of these objects being located somewhere outside of time.

  • 4.0 star rating
    First to Review

    I went to Joe Sheftel Gallery for the opening of the Alex da Corte exhibition and was surprised by how hushed it was. Usually gallery openings are quite noisy, with people standing around talking, but here for the most part they were looking curiously and quietly at the art. This was largely due to the nature of the work itself: a total installation that filled the gallery, turning it into a mirrored and striped 70s-looking funhouse with various sculptures and other obstacles occupying patches of the floor. This meant it was hard to stand around schmoozing with frenemies, instead people basically just walked, single-file, from the door to the desk and back, in a snaky long S-curve. I wasn't crazy about this show, not because I like noisy openings and having to navigate around people who are just standing in place in order to see the art, but because exhibitions of this artist's work I've seen elsewhere have an openness to them--there are fronts and backs and different sides that create a variety of perspectives, and you can stand in one place (or just shift position slightly) and make connections between a work's various parts and contemplate them without being jostled around and directed BY them. This just felt over-determined. Hence the timid behavior of everyone in it (which is weird, because if it is drawing on funhouse looks shouldn't people at least be having *fun*?). And the installation's heavy palette, with lots of reds and pinks, only exacerbated this oppressive feeling. I would give it three stars but I think Joe Sheftel Gallery deserves an extra one just for experimenting with something so weird.

  • 210 Eleventh Ave
    New York, NY 10001
    5.0 star rating
    1 check-in First to Review
    Listed in Culture Vultures

    For the most part the Pablo Helguera exhibition at Kent Fine Art doesn't look like a regular gallery exhibit--but what it does look like is hard to say. Does it look like a bookstore or a personal library or what? The first thing I noticed upon entering was the plain, industrial-looking metal shelves (bookstore) with colorful hand-lettered signs indicating the genre/category of the books on them (cute bookstore) but as I moved through I noticed these nice mid-century modernist chairs, the low (in terms of both height and intensity) lighting of vintage table lamps, and faded black-and-white photos on the wall--all domestic touches pointing to "personal library." Is this supposed to represent a public space or a private one, I wondered, and can I even say it's "representing" either or is it just _being_ them? after all, it seemed like the books were there for reading, maybe for buying (but they were all in Spanish, so not really for me). As I got to the end of the gallery, still thinking about whether this was one thing or the other or both, I was caught totally off-guard by a third element--the way one wall of bookshelves ended and opened onto a gallery that looked more like a standard art show--framed prints hanging on a white wall, lots of empty space illuminated by natural light coming in a window. Here we have Pablo Helguera's lecture on "The Art of the Future"--printed on sturdy cards, arranged on three shelves, interspersed with cards printed with plates from a 1969 book, "Art of the Future," to which the title of Helguera's lecture/work referred. And though it was purportedly about the future, the lecture really talked about the past--Helguera's own childhood and youth, when he encountered the book in translation, "El Arte del Futuro," in his home city in Mexico and learned about contemporary trends in American art--conceptual art, land art, and computer art, and became very excited about it. Eventually the lecture arrives at a rather grim conclusion that we live in a time of no future, when the future doesn't matter, when all artists are concerned with their own work in the present. So, like with the installation of books, here too there was this tension between public and private, an attempt to make a statement about general trends in the public sphere of art that ends up circling back into a reflection on personal experiences, but then is presenting as a lecture (or installation)--a transmission of a private life into public space, via the gallery. (On the opposite wall hung framed prints in a grid, black-and-white photographs of what looked like an archaeological site in Mexico--I think. I tried to read and comprehend the prints a few times but for some reason I quickly felt tired out trying to understand it and kept giving up and still am not sure what was going on there.)

    On the way out I stopped at the front desk to talk to the very friendly receptionist a bit about the show and I noticed there were flyers that could be taken and exchanged for a free book! I headed for the "Artes" section and found one about cybernetics in art from the 60s--I won't read it (or maybe I'll try to find the English original, I'm pretty sure it's a translation) but because of the timing of its publication and its thematics, as well as its handsome modern design, it seemed like a great memento to take away from this intriguing exhibition.

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February 2012

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