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102 Reviews

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  • Lorimer Street L Train Station
    Williamsburg, NY 11211
    4.0 star rating
    First to Review

    Definitely worth a peek if you've got some time to kill between your transfer from the G to L or vice versa, or at either end of your journey! It sells artists' books, zines, and other paper matter by independent publishers (some DVDs and CDs too). They are organized by publisher rather than thematically so you just have to release your inner browser, dive into a box and see what catches your eye. I picked up an old book of essays on video art and television from 1985, for $12, and a book of "Cell Phone Poems" which was a stack of thick manila sheets cut the size and shape of an iPad mini, or one of those big Samsung tablet phones, and printed with some washed out images and brief poems, held together with a big brass fastener (and a half dozen staples holding its legs down for good measure). The poetry didn't seem amazing but I liked it as an object and at $5 it was hard to pass up. A lot of the other handmade-looking things were in the high end of the single-digits so this thing seemed like a steal by comparison! The people who stop in here look like zine experts (when I went in there was a guy having a long conversation with the clerks, wearing marijuana-leaf printed socks and a snapback) but I think anyone can find something here to their taste if they give a try.

  • 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.

  • 520 W 20th St
    New York, NY 10001
    4.0 star rating
    2 check-ins

    I saw an exhibition here by Jutta Koether, a painter who likes to apply fluorescent colors with an expressionistic/primitivistic brushstroke. She mixes in some strange material once in a while, too--one painting had pools of clear gelatinous liquid that looked like it had been spilled on there to harden. Also the floor of the gallery was covered wall to wall with gravel the color of dried blood or cedar chips. The contrast of the rusty rocks and the paintings' fluorescent pinks and oranges from a totally different part of the "hot" palette created the kind of visceral gross-out effect that a lot of artists are using these days to try to make painting seem like a relevant and compelling medium. Works for me! Four stars.

  • 4.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    This is one of New York's great neighborhood museums, and it's been on a roll lately with a series of adventurous group shows detailing the far-out regions of black artistic imagination. There was one about Afrofuturism, science fictions, utopia/dystopia in the winter, and on my last visit I saw "When Stars Begin To Fall," about folk and vernacular art and how the visual language of that has influenced "professional" artists. i want to put the last part in quotes because the exhibition as a whole makes you wonder what that even means, especially when the unprofessional work, in many cases, looks better. There's just a freshness or spontaneity or freedom about it that lots of artists have a hard time preserving when they go through the system of schools and galleries and adapt their vision to conventions of mediums and art histories--things that folk artists never have to think about, unless of course they want to--though of course the best artists always manage to do that, and some of them are represented here. I won't detail everything I saw, but one particularly memorable installation was by Jacolby Satterwhite, who framed and hung drawings by his mother (an "outsider artist" of sorts) of strange variations on familiar household objects, over a wallpaper he made of 3D digital renderings of those objects, alive in a raucuously colorful montage landscape that he imagined around them. It felt like the heart of the whole exhibition, a place where the relationship between folk arts and the world of museums was an intimate, familial one of loving kin.

    I'd like to give the Studio Museum five stars but the architecture of the galleries is not that great. The central gallery has a plopped-down feeling that makes work installed there feel random, and it's wreathed by a balcony of uneven width. The narrow corridor on the balcony's east side is always used for small shows unrelated to what's going on around it, and the shape of it (one long wall) poses a real challenge for anyone who wants to develop a story in art that's more complex and compelling than a this-then-that, one-after-another sequence. The balcony also casts shadows, or maybe it's just the yellowness of the lights they use that make everything feel dimmed. Anyway, I realize these are not simple problems to solve, and despite them I will keep coming back to the Studio Museums and doing my best to enjoy the great exhibitions here.

  • 4.0 star rating
    1 check-in First to Review

    It wasn't so long ago when the Lower East Side galleries were the place to see delicate and minor works--drawings, photo collage, or little assemblages of whatever with garbage dangling off. But those days are quickly receding into the past as LES galleries move into bigger digs and put on more ambitious shows to hold onto the yougn artists they've been working with who want to make granger gestures. "More weight" by Sam Moyer at Rachel Uffner is exemplary of this trend. This is a heavy show indeed. I felt like I was at Paula Cooper!! Maybe it was even too heavy for me--Sam moyer's studies of stony textures is so cold, but tactile touches warmed it up. The main gallery is impressively vast and cave-like in its current dimly lit state, a great rock slab taking up most of the floor and a warm off-white luminescence from a stately marbled lightbox of commensurate size on the ceiling. It should be said that the architecture of the gallery itself, which is beautiful, lends a lot to the effects of the art, with white wooden beams, dark floors, a rich lived-in old feel to all the walls and materials. But what I liked best were the smaller works on the upper level, the unevenly cut small rock slabs jointed with textiles stretched on uneven frames. The ancient grooves of geological movement improvised with the quicker, newer lodes of dye in fabric, and what I liked best was how this play of texture and surface continued through the slanting skylight above, which showed the rise of the building next door and the winding paths of vines and cracks as if an extension of the works on view. Made me feel small, and light, in a good way.

  • 1200 Getty Center Dr
    Los Angeles, CA 90049
    4.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    Very fancy. Have you seen Elysium? I just watched it last week on my flight to LA so it was hard not to think of it while walking around the Getty campus--this pristine, verdant paradise of beauty and leisure perched high above the swarming world below, like the satellite nation in the movie. The nice thing about the Getty (unlike Elysium) is its openness to we plebes. It welcomes anyone who can pay $15 for parking, or take the bus.

    The panoramic views of LA, from downtown to the Pacific, are spectacular, and the gardens a delight. A friend said he thought the gardens didn't have enough natural messiness for him. But I thought the sequences of contrastive geometries to the flower beds, and the spilling of certain plant species from one area to another, gave a sufficient sense of spontaneity in its perpetual struggle with harmony. Just like in the materials of the buildings of the campus--the alternation of synthetic, smooth beige cubes and the rough-hewn blocks of rock, also beige. Hmm.. now that I make this comparison I'm starting to wonder, are the gardens too overdetermined after all?

    Strolling around the campus and enjoying the serenity is the highlight of a visit to the Getty. The art collections are not quite so spectacular. I did enjoy a temporary exhibit in the galleries of the Research Institute, featuring old books with maps of the world, and detailed drawings of ancient Greco-Roman structures in the Middle East, or etchings of Egyptian mummies by 18th century French explorers. The grand size of the books and the exploratory nature of their contents conveyed a sense of wonder at a planet that hadn't yet been entirely photographed and GPSed. But nothing wow'ed me that much in the galleries of the permanent collections. They are fine, but seeing as how this is a relatively young museum they just don't have the treasures of the Met or the Hermitage or what have you. However, seeing all the paintings of Italianate landscapes, the rolling hills, the rocky slopes, the villas standing in for Palestinian houses in Renaissance religious paintings and the fragments of Roman edificies dotting the landscapes of the Romantics, gave me a sense of how the Getty imagines itself with regards to the past, and even a speculative glimpse of its future... it'll make a beautiful ruin someday.

  • 4.0 star rating

    "Museum" is not really the right word for this place, as it has no permanent collection. It shows works by living artists and sells them. So it's a gallery that is subsidized by the city, as a way of supporting the local arts community. That's fine. Just not what I was expecting when I first entered this "museum." Most of the works deal with some Rhode Island-y themes: lots of beaches, views of Narragansett Bay, landscapes, etc. with various "modern" twists to them, as well as some crafts (i.e. jewelry). That's fine, too--but for me, ordinarily what catches my attention is edgier/more conceptual stuff. I did get bewitched, though, by a quilted piece by Michele Leavitt, a bay scene created from ragged, irregular scraps of fabric, with the bits of thread that hold them together hanging from the surface and adding to the already wild texture. So many different, vibrant hues of blue! I didn't pay much attention to the boat-shaped sculptures, assembled from big, found pieces of wood and metal, the maker of which--I learned from the museum's binder--taught engineering at the University of Rhode Island and started making art a couple of years ago, after his retirement. I was with my father--an engineer like the artist, and someone who doesn't usually look at art--and though I didn't pay much attention to the boats my dad said he really appreciated the craftsmanship that went into them. He actually lives in Warwick, so the museum is there for him, and that's a good thing.

  • 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.

  • 4.0 star rating

    The bacon/bratwurst sandiwiches on pretzel buns and the mac-n-cheese bites were so delicious that I would consider hosting a wedding reception here just to see trays of those apps again. Not that I'm in danger of getting married anytime soon, ha ha. But I would jump at the chance to party here again, in the big Biergarten with the outdoor tables, indoor tables, balcony, stage, etc. Very versatile space!

  • 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

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February 2012

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