31 January 2009

NACO stop frustrated so it's off to the galleries

Sam Duncan of the Amon Carter asked me about the Park Place Gallery which is the theme of a recent show at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas. I don't think I'd heard of it but it is where John Gibson and Paula Cooper started before they opened their own eponymous galleries in Soho and later Chelsea. Park Place Gallery started out on Park Place near the City Hall of NYC. According to BobCat (the opac that NYU shares with several other schools), the catalog was supposed to be on the shelf at Gimbel Library at Parsons the New School for Design. I left home before 11 and found that Gimbel doesn't open until noon on Saturdays.

Off to the galleries: Daneyal Mahmood Gallery's "Darkrooms -- homme made" was the only Chelsea gallery on the list for this weekend. I got to Tenth Avenue at 20th Street so decided to stop in at Jack Shainman Gallery. They've got a show of soundsuits and other sculptures by Nick Cave. I had seen a show of the soundsuits a couple years ago. The first gallery as you enter was a parade of sculptures with lawn jockeys holding up other objects on bent metal: model ships, braided rug as emblem, porcelain birds in a tree, flowers wreathed about in a tree, porcelain birds in a bush (with seated jockey). One of the jockeys was painted whiteface. The metal frames are more visible than the frames of the soundsuits but evoke them. There were also a couple wallpieces with Aunt Jemimas and a male counterpart: one on a box with the caption "Holy, holy, holy" and the other a cross. Another one of the wallpieces was a bootblack with the caption "Boo!" The back gallery had about a dozen soundsuits. I really like the way that Cave plays with humor, race, gender stereotypes. He had a show up in Alfred at the Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art last fall but I missed it. I think it was on during one of my visits but I just didn't get up to the museum. The fellow at Shainman said that the Alfred show was five soundsuits.

Next stop was the Hiroshi Sugimoto show at Gagosian on 21st Street. The first room was six of the subtle sea images on one wall of the white and light room. There were guides to help you into the second room which was as dark as the first was light. Again, six images but the inner gallery was only illuminated by the spotlights on the images. The entrances were a U-turn light trap and after you'd been in the inner sanctum for a while, your eyes adjusted. On one hand, the subtlety is powerful and turns one meditative; on the other, it was perhaps insignificant. From the busyness of the Cave to the minimal Sugimoto, quite a jump.

On to Paula Cooper with "Every revolution is a roll of the dice," curated by Bob Nickas. I was really drawn by the title but the show didn't do much for me. I did like the Louise Lawler wall piece: Once there was a little boy and everything turned out alright. THE END.

On the way from 21st up to 25th for Mahmood, I stopped at Printed Matter and found some things I really liked but resisted. I will have to go back to work full time if I don't get my book buying under control. Near the cash register was Fifteen pornography companies by Louisa Van Leer, done Ed Ruscha style (credited thereto). Really fine and only $16. I tagged it "wannaread" in my del.icio.us tags though it's really more "wannabuy." Back in the alphabetical section was S(h)elf portrait by Leandro Katz. I tagged that "books_as_art" and "artists_book." And then in the back room was a lovely little catalog from the Casey Kaplan Gallery entitled Not so subtle subtitle. More play on library words, and the show started on my birthday last year. Gosh, sometimes I wish I DID have collection-development responsibilities for a library. I could be the one they pick on for overspending his budget.

OK, now the 511 West 25th Street building, home of several favorite galleries. I checked the posters on the outside of the building and figured I might as well just take the elevator to the top and walk down.


"A winter's bounty" at Alan Klotz Gallery included this wonderful Brett Weston "White Sands, New Mexico" from 1946 (my birth year, so more birthday stuff). I love the way the landscape and sky are ambiguous and reflective of each other.

Deborah Bell is on the same floor and she was showing "Figure studies." As I circled the room, I happened on the woman dressed as Queen Victoria. I knew I'd seen it but couldn't think who the photographer was. Peter Hujar. Further along was a piece and my mind said "John O'Reilly" but it was by a Dutch photographer named Gerard Petrus Fieret (1924-2009). Very nice, with two images of the artist naked. The second Fieret piece was of a woman's upper body and that reminded me that one may see things in art that weren't intended. The self-portrait set off my gaydar and looked like O'Reilly who is unabashedly homoerotic, mixing naked male bodies with bits of old masters and stage sets. At the Queer Caucus show in Atlanta, I bought a picture of a young man that looks a lot like David Wojnarowicz as a young man. The photographer of that picture was a woman. Now she was in the queer show but her queer aesthetics might not match mine.

I did stop at a few other galleries before getting to "Darkrooms -- homme made" curated by Avi Feldman at Daneyal Mahmood on the third floor. The first piece as you enter is a video monitor with films by Amir Fattal addressing issues of gay male sexuality. Pretty direct. No back room approach to the show here. Some of the pieces were pretty interesting but as often happens when galleryhopping, the one on the list isn't necessarily the lasting experience of the day. Nick Cave and the Brett Weston will probably stick with me. I did like the Dean Sameshima photos at Mahmood too though.

Leaving Chelsea, I went back to the Gimbel Library to check on the Reimagining spaces catalog. It wasn't on the shelf, it wasn't on the new book truck, it wasn't on the overflow and shelving shelves. I looked at the staff display of the record and it was handled by a Bobst staff member on January 29th so I suspect it's still in processing rather than on the shelf. I'll just have to go back to Gimbel in a few days and read some more magazines and see if the catalog has appeared. No problem, I've got time.

1 comment:

David Gibson said...

The Park Place gallery had nothing to do with the street of the same name. It was located at 542 West Broadway (now LaGuardia Place) between Bleecker and West 4th Streets.