Nov 9, 2008


On my rounds in Chelsea this week, I saw work which ran the gamut from thought-provoking to dreamy to mediocre. I'll start with the good stuff first.

Zhang Xiaogang's large cool-toned paintings at Pace Wildenstein were great.

As peculiar and off-putting as a novel by Haruki Murakami, the paintings put me in a space that can best be described as a hazy dream-world in a German interrogation building (such as the video piece 'Stasi City' by Jane & Louise Wilson) The painting style was somewhat cartoonish and washy, with large blackish and greenish fields of color. Certain elements appeared repeatedly, such as bare lightbulbs with carefully---albeit not perfectly---drawn cords draping across the canvas.

The artist explains his work as indicative of the elusiveness of memory; 'memory isn't a thing that can actually present the past', but something which undergoes 'continuous revisions.'

Next up: the truly not inspiring work of Andreas Gursky at Matthew Marks Gallery on 24th Street.

I have great respect for Gursky in the entire scheme of things as a fine art photographer. Who else can lay claim to selling PHOTOGRAPHS, of all things, for such huge prices? Who else has made such work that is just really really big? Not many. And I appreciate his large photographs about large-scale consumerism, I really do.

But this show proved that perhaps Mr.Gursky needs to take a break. Or, maybe, work really really small. Or buy a new sports car. The really really big photographs of a club which looks like a giant hive and that was designed by a DJ friend of his just didn't say anything about anything. There's a big picture of the club with kids in it, and a big picture of it empty except for the artist and his son. Sigh.

Next....the Humble Arts Foundation show at New Century Artists 'Things Are Strange.'

I'm going to give a little shout-out to all of my SVA colleagues who were in the show; it's a great opportunity to see the work of Alison Malone, Matthew Baum, and Amy Stein if you haven't already.
'Things Are Strange' was a fun and exciting visual take on 'strange,' be that a psychadelic spider or a one-eyed cat.

(Spider photograph by Hannah Whitaker)

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