Last week, the day before I moved from Boston to New York, I sprained my foot. Good timing, huh? Good thing we’d hired movers. On an artistic note, my foot is turning all kinds of lovely shades of purple, pink, blue, green and yellow. On a practical note, if I walk just a few blocks I’m ready to put my foot up and call it a day. Therefore my typical New York pastime, museums and galleries, is out. Here are a few things I might be seeing if I was not temporarily disabled.
A CUT ABOVE: 12 PAPER MASTERS, Christopher Henry Gallery, on view until July 15th
The only reason this particular show gets top billing is that my parents went on Sunday, and so I likely would have accompanied them, minus my gimpiness and desire to sleep in that day. (This led to a conversation between my mom and I about our ignorance that some galleries were open on Sundays, though she recalled this article, which is a few years old. Anyone know what the trend is now?)
Anyway, I’d already seen most of these artists, even these particular works, in Slash: Paper Under the Knife at the Museum of Arts and Design. Like most cut paper art (of which there is quite a lot these days), it either blends into the crowd, or completely stands out and therefore is worth a second or third look. Chris Gilmour’s cardboard St. George and the Dragon is impeccably made, down to the last detail. Adam Fowler’s excised pencil scribbles (which I also saw at my friend’s gallery, Kunsthalle Galapagos in DUMBO*) are mind-blowing. The sculpted books by Guy Laramee, Doug Beube and Brian Dettmer are also intriguingly detailed.
ALIGHIERO BOETTI: GAME PLAN, MoMA, on view until October 1st
What can I say? Boetti is one of those major modern artists whose name I knew, but I had only been familiar with one particularly famous work or series–in his case, the Mappas, world maps in which each country’s shape is made from it’s own flag:
Due to his inclusion in an exhibition I was working on, I also became familiar with his interest in duality, which he expressed by renaming himself Alighiero e (and) Boetti, and creating a portrait of himself as a set of twins.
Given that this is still just a small fraction of his both conceptually and aesthetically diverse oeuvre, I look forward to seeing the show and learning much more. Doubtless I will report back when I do see it.
ART OF ANOTHER KIND: INTERNATIONAL ABSTRACTION AND THE GUGGENHEIM, 1949-1960, til September 12th, and RINEKE DIJKSTRA: A RETROSPECTIVE, til October 8th, the Guggenheim
The Guggenheim is always sort of a destination museum, isn’t it? Going there is a big production. Since I can usually finagle my way into a museum for cheap or free, I’ll just “drop in” to the Met, MoMA or the Whitney for a show I’m curious about, but you don’t just “drop in” to the Guggenheim. I think it’s the building that does it (that and the lines out the door). Even after being there many many times, it’s hard not to experience awe when you walk into the rotunda. It’s hard not to feel like the trip up or down the ramp is its own special journey, regardless of the art on view. Therefore, my bar is higher for Guggenheim exhibitions; I can’t merely be curious about what’s on view, it takes a bit more.
So I’m not sure if these two exhibitions would get me there, but they might, at least given my lukewarm interest in what’s currently at the Met and Whitney. Rineke Dijkstra is one of those contemporary artists who comes up so often that I should know her work better than I do (for example, until I just checked, I thought she was male).
The abstraction show nominally would not have any surprises–Abstract Expressionists/New York School in America, Informel/Tachisme in Europe. Looks like a pretty canonical line-up. It would be more groundbreaking, for example, if “international” included abstraction from farther abroad than Europe, like Neo-Concretism in Brazil, or Gutai in Japan, of which the Guggenheim will be doing a big survey. But this show is based on what the museum actually collected in that period, so I’m guessing more “international” is mostly out. Nonetheless, it can be very refreshing to see these old favorites in-person, and you never know what particular works might catch you by surprise. I for one have not encountered that much European abstraction in person, and would love to get a sense of the tactility of works like this:
I’d also probably make the rounds of the Chelsea galleries, but I’m not going to go through the trouble right now of trying to sift through them all online just to tell you what I think the highlights might be. Maybe I’ll do a part 2, but hopefully by then I’ll be able to walk and see for myself.
And, oh yeah, it’s July 4th! What will I be doing? Lunch and seeing Brave with my mom (shame to be in a dark movie theater, but what else am I gonna do with a gimp foot?), baking a raspberry pie, dinner with my dad and his girlfriend, and perhaps attempting to see the fireworks while avoiding the crowds on Riverside. Happy 4th to you, readers!
*That’s “Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass,” for the uninitiated. Or as my stepdad likes to say, “Down Under Manhattan Bridge… Oh!” It’s in Brooklyn.
P.S. I know from my analytics that there are actually some people reading this (mostly people I know, I’m sure). So my reaction is, where are the comments? To once again quote Eddie Izzard, “I’m not a priest, you may talk to me.” I really do want to hear your thoughts, questions, reactions, vehement counter-arguments, et cetera!