Sunday, March 10, 2013

Chelsea Galleries & El Anatsui at High Line

This weekend my husband and I went to NYC again.  After meeting with my mentor Marc Handelman, we ventured into Chelsea to see some galleries. Galleri Lelong hosted a small but great show of work by Arte Provera artists Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, and Mario Merz.  Fabro's marbleand gold leaf piece and Kounellis' coal/steel/wire piece and his burlap sacks with steel were especially intriguing.

Robert Miller Gallery was showing the collaborative show of South African Beezy Bailey and Dave Matthews.  Based on a video taken by Dave Matthews of Beezy performing in a fatman suit, Beezy created a series of mixed media pieces that contain elements of painting and printmaking. They seemed to explore the issue of identity and alter ego.

The International Print Center New York hosted their New Prints 2013/Winter show which had an uneven collection of prints.  Nicola Lopez large Infrastructure print was great to see, as were some more sculptural pieces.

The Heller Gallery exhibits only glass artists, some of whom work at Corning Glass near where I live.  A wonderful video showed the glass artists producing some very beautiful pieces, some of which were on display in the gallery.

Lastly, we had a chance to see El Anatsui's largest piece ever which he recently installed at the High Line. He used a combination of rusted metal pieces and mirrors to reflect the sky and buildings.

El Anatsui at the Brooklyn Museum

My two most recent visits to New York City to meet with my new mentor Marc Handelman, who has his studio in Brooklyn, provided wonderful opportunities to see some great exhibits.

The monumental pieces by El Anatsui at the Brooklyn Museum are fantastic in every way.  Like the Arte Provera artists, he uses found materials like bottle caps, rusted metal, paint can lids, old newspapers, etc to construct these huge tapestry-like sculptural forms.  These simple materials are transformed into poetic statements that read like topographic landscapes that shimmer with gold or silver, and hang with a sense of weight and mass.  Some hang directly from the wall or from the ceiling.  The central installation consisted of delicate lattices of woven metal hung like gigantic drapes or sheets that revealed passersby but intersected the gallery space with curious obfuscations and overlays of textured woven material.  Materiality was key, so despite the monumentality of the artwork, one is very aware of the small bottle caps and wire used to assemble the enumerable pieces that form the massive hangings.  Just as impressive were the paper bag series of self-standing bag pieces, larger than life, like Stonehenge or ancestral monuments for the consumer industry.  The snake-like sculptures that meander along the floor and part way up the wall, were intriguing as well. Here are a few images from the show: