Independent 2015

March 6th, 2015

This year’s Independent features 50 galleries from 14 countries, an impressive globe:gallery ratio, though New York and Berlin dominate.  In the architectural design by Jonathan Caplan, galleries unfold around visitors roaming between angled dividing walls. The space seems to swirl visual surprises while commingling neighboring galleries, though it does cram some artists into awkward corners.  This porous zoning could be a strategy to arrange alliances among galleries, or just a way to induce curiosity and conversations.  And to preserve the memories, Mousse will publish a limited-edition catalog.

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Stefan Tcherepnin sculpture at Tanya Leighton

Along with the international expanse of Independent, there’s a high density of great art.  Here are some of the best-in-show at Independent.  See more pics on our Instagram.

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Armory Show 2015

March 5th, 2015

The Armory Show opens today to the public, bringing international contemporary and modern art to Piers 92 and 94 along the Hudson River.  As you trudge from the nearest subway, be sure to size up a new Maserati at the nearby dealer, or gaze upward to Bjarke Ingel’s luxurious tetrahedron, still under construction. 

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Folkert de Jong sculpture at James Cohan Gallery

For that class of consumers, and the people who love them, the Armory Show is one of the most important annual art events in New York, a rite of spring-to-be.  If you can somehow swing the $45 ticket ($30 for students), then visiting is an enjoyable opportunity to see the global art market in action and under one roof (er, two).    

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Jim Shaw painting detail at Metro Pictures

This year’s Armory Show steps up its partnership with Artsy.  On Artsy’s iPhone app, users can view artworks, contact galleries, and navigate the fair.  Artsy’s Armory website, updates each day and The Digital Daily briefing will be available to users.  Through Instagram, Artsy will disseminate and display Armory Show photos on freestanding digital screens, and Armory and Artsy will co-host a meetup for Instagrammas and grampas.  (Will there also be a Grindr meetup?)   

Predictably, most of the art includes painting and sculpture, but look for many 3D printed/sourced sculptures, Frankensteinian assemblage by Alan Vega at Galerie Laurent Godin, snappy abstract paintings by Cary White at Fredericks & Freiser, a briar patch of ceramics by Jessica Jackson Hutchins at Marianne Boesky, New Orleans denizens in photos by George Dureau, and a conceptual, collaborative installation by Michael Müller and Vlado Martek exhibited jointly by Aanant & Zoo and Galerie Thomas Schulte.  See photos here and on our Instagram.

 

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Fight or Flight

February 22nd, 2015

New Works and the Avenue A Cut-Out Theatre is Anton van Dalen’s first show with P.P.O.W and his first solo exhibition in eight years.

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Anton van Dalen at PPOW Gallery

A forty-year resident of the East Village, Anton van Dalen is a neighborhood icon. For decades, his work has documented and depicted the problems of his dynamic neighborhood and its looming surroundings, from junkie dystopia to bank-branch mall. Along with making art, he breeds white pigeons from his Avenue A rooftop and reportedly kept roosters in his home.  And he assisted Saul Steinberg, secretly, for thirty years.  His paintings commingle these influences: several of these East Village views are from up high and employ the “graphic clarity” that van Dalen has described of Steinberg: “the idea of drawing with a single line, no shading, etc.”

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Sunrise in the East Village: “Self-Portrait with Pigeon Coop Looking South,” 2014

 

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Sunset in the East Village: “Self-Portrait with Pigeon Coop Looking North,” 2014

New Works is a series of paintings that feature the new East Village, fully “cleaned up” and luxury-class.  Van Dalen selects the polarized colors of sunrise and sunset, perhaps to coordinate with his diurnal pigeon schedule.  Van Dalen’s street scenes look flattened and blocky, like colorful dioramas or stage sets, offering a noncommittal interpretation that might be an adaptation to a changing neighborhood.  Instead of realism, Van Dalen expresses his vision of the East Village in a naive, though skillful, painting style based in drawing and rich in geometries, figuration, and perspective: just short of cartoonish Canaletto.

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“Avenue A, Day/Night,” 2008-2011

 

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The burdens we carry: details of Anton van Dalen paintings

 

The colorful naïvete relents in Avenue A Cut-Out Theatre, the set for his one-man puppet show, which he has previously performed at MoMA and the New York Historical Society.  Here, Van Dalen stages violent clashes with police in riot gear.  Could this be his telling of the brutal repression, usually invisible, that paves the way for a more user-friendly East Village?  Driving out the undesirables?

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Anton van Dalen in “East Village U.S.A.”

 

If so, then we can look for skepticism in Van Dalen’s vision of Alphabet City coexistence.  Answers might await when he performs at PPOW next weekend. For now, check out this great interview at Interview with Martha Wilson.

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