Hey, I’m free for a change, it’s Sat., 5pm; could go to chelsea, but will I fit anything in??!!I used the one-street strategy. The Gursky show at Matthew Marks provided the anchor. While there is more at 22nd Street that I haven’t seen, the four mural-sized prints of pit crews were impressive alone. Jerry Saltz wonders if Gursky is out of ideas, but I think it’s more and more of the same idea. Luckily for all concerned (especially the party that paid $3.3M for Gursky’s convenience store photo) it’s a good idea. The pit (Boxenstopp) photos are like narratives, or pre-Rennaisance multi-planar icons; they contain a couple of cars under service by piles of brightly suited crew members, sexy girls — whom one imagines are racing-calendar stars, and a second story window filled with spectators watching the crew. With so many participants in the photos, I was drawn into the various stories in each area (something I’m playing with in my own work). These are too big to justify at 300 pixels wide, so try going to the Matthew Marks website or make it to Chelsea if you can.
In nice contrast to Gursky’s oeuvre is Thomas Flechtner’s show at Marianne Boesky. The Swiss photographer has given us two series here. The first is a set of lightboxes in which cherry blossoms are used as abstract veils over micro-environments (branches). The effect is odd; first I balked at the blown-out exposures, then I integrated the separate stories. As in Gursky’s dense works, you hunt out the individual areas of detail and look for subject. Flechtner’s second series, Sites, depicts man-made land formations, such as flower farms and embankments. I have been resistant to digital images blown up beyond their clarity to achieve punch from large scale, but these, which were a bit broken down on the edges up close, convinced me to just stand back and enjoy. Unlike Gursky, these geometries were naturally occurring.
(detail from above; note, proportions are distorted)
Back at Matthew Marks, there is a selection of photographs of Swiss team Peter Fischli and David Weiss’ Equilibres, gravity defying sculptures — sometimes in collapse — made from common household objects. These were really fun to look at. The exhibit also includes a film of the artists working out some of the kinetic sculptures they crafted out of the same materials. (Some of the photos below are taken off-angle to avoid reflections off the glass. All the images are the same size, about 8×10 inches, regardless of materials). Note the aerosol can spray in the detail photo at the top.
Speaking of kinetic sculpture, at Andrea Rosen, Erika Hoffman has consulted on the curation of a show of 50’s and 60’s kinetic works. This show is like watching an old sci-fi movie; charmingly naive but still incredible. My favorite work was by Hartmut Bohm, a grid of white squares that “jiggled” due to magnetic variations (I resisted the task of photographing a white grid, but here’s the label).
Metro Pictures is showing Yuri Masnyj’s sculptures and paintings, both which use as subject matter a bookshelf of additional art and culture references.
Barbara Gladstone & Team are about to open Banks Violette’s show (July 6). For now, the gallery only offers reflective surfaces to make authors’ self portraits.
Silverstein Photography has an intriguing show called First Contact: A Photographer’s Sketchbook, showing the photographer’s process of choosing an image from contact sheets. Here, two dozen classic photos from Magnum photographers and others are paired with the contact sheets from which the photos were selected. The contact sheets in the pictures below are largely unreadable, but give you an idea of the caliber of work in this show. An exception is the sheet by Man Ray, which is a gorgeous work of abstract art as it stands.
Not bad for an hour… Landing in Chelsea after galleries are closed can be a sad, lonely affair. But even with only an hour, I got all that art. And when the galleries are open, you get the added plus of seeing the colorful gallery visitors, too…
~ ~ ~
images: street signs, self portrait, and youths and pink guitar, by Peter Ferko; installation shots from Sakura and Sites, Thomas Flechtner; movie still and photo details by Peter Fischli and David Weiss. Other images as noted on labels.