Archive for September, 2010

Taken by Trees

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Art lovers at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery

Defend Brooklyn, Chelsea Girls!  The triumvirate behind Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery recently uprooted from Union Ave in Williamsburg and will soon transplant to a new space downtown.  For now, Klaus Gallery has set up a temporary outpost on West 21st, formerly occupied by Andrew Kreps Gallery.  The high ceilings and expansive walls, dramatically raw, might form a launch pad for the resilient gallery, especially in the prime Chelsea location it deserves. “We’ve never had a wall that big,” said co-owner Sam Wilson, pointing to the epic-scaled diagonal west wall.  (And we love what you’ve done with it!)

Artist Glen Baldridge (l) with Sam Wilson of Klaus Gallery

Glen Baldridge, artist and co-founder of printing powerhouse Forth Estate, exhibits five new works on paper completed through a process that fuses photography, printing, and drawing.  First, he covers the paper with a homogenous imprimatura of graphite.  Over this graphite sheen, he screenprints arboreal photographic images in clear acrylic polymer, and then erases away the remaining areas to uncover/recover the fields of white, now “standing in for snow, light, and sky in a barren terrain.”   Through traditional imagery, Baldridge relegates “gesture” to oblique, auxiliary labor and offers a distinctly contemporary approach to the centuries-old legacy of landscape imagery.  Moreover, these unique pieces could, theoretically, be reproduced in near exactitude.  (How bout it, Glen?)  The “original” image would then be a fertile ancestor to a litter of 20 sibling drawings.  A family tree.

(l-r) Dealer Rachel Uffner, Dan Nadel of Picturebox, and artist Benjamin Butler

Benjamin Butler‘s paintings are as fractal and multi-faceted as the finest gems, yet they don’t feel excessively precious.  His palette is liberating and his handling elegantly stress-free.  The inclusive range of hues reaches multi-mood and inter-seasonal levels, successfully connecting to – and beyond – the show’s equinoctial title and timing.

(l-r) Artists Yuri Masnyj and Ernesto Caivano

(For me, the predicament of this focused show is that Glen Baldridge stages the inhospitable, skeletal tundra of winter; while Ben Butler’s vivacious, delicious course of rich color seems like the antidote to the S.A.D. symptoms – except that the paintings won’t be up when winter sets in.)

Stunned Brian Droitcour all like "OMG it's a double rainbow"

Autumn Almanac 2010

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Back to school!  Yes, oh yes, here’s my autumn almanac:


New spaces: Rental Gallery moves to a new space at 30 Orchard Street designed by Andrew Ong, and James Fuentes Gallery moves to Delancey and Eldridge. Uptown, Taxter & Spengemann reopens at 459 West 18th St and Bortolami Gallery just around the corner at 520 w 20th.


At Taxter, SVA faculty member A.L. Steiner breaks in the new space with Community Action Center, a join effort with AK Burns.  Steiner is currently featured in Greater New York 2010 at PS1/MoMA, where she recently hosted a discussion with faux-vocateur Ann Liv Young.  Always a vital collaborator and queen-bee of lesbian art in NYC, Steiner is kicking off another action-packed year, with an upcoming show at Horton Gallery’s Schwester space in Berlin.

Get in, sit down, hold on, and ACT UP!  ACT UP NEW YORK: Activism, Art, and the AIDS Crisis, 1987 – 1993 looms as the knockout show of the season, timely in its compelling politics, while the mainstream political pendulum swings back to the right, picking up more corrosion and slime in its grave trajectory, and while same-sex marriage and DADT are on the verge of revolution.  The press release claims that this show “will offer an occasion to consider the ongoing role alternative arts organizations continue to play in defining the cultural politics of their time.”

TM Davy, "Kalup, Reclining Nude," 2007 or so

On September 12th, Eleven Rivington debuts with SVA alum and faculty member TM Davy, who opens his first, and well-deserved, solo show.  TM’s repertoire includes paintings on a variety of supports, including bedsheets and pillowcases, of his domestic life.  The sexual imagery is explicit, but only because of his gift for picturesque candor, and not because he is desperate for cock-shock.  Moreover, TM’s formal rigor, vast vocabulary, and masterful craftsmanship justify every peep in his show.

Keith Mayerson, "Louise Bourgeois at her Salon," 2008

And in October, SVA faculty member Keith Mayerson opens his fourth solo show at Derek Eller Gallery.  Keith is a painter’s painter, but he is more importantly an artist’s artist, and an artist’s curator, having recently organized NeoIntegrity: Comics Edition at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, including more than 200 artists from almost every mode of distribution: syndication, self-publishing, art gallery, underground, and basement hermitude.