In these days of endlessly proliferating biennials, triennials and mega-exhibitions, contemporary art curatorship tends to be equated almost exclusively with the ability to gather works by dozens of artists under one roof while maintaining at least the illusion of a convincing theme or thesis. And while this skill is nothing to be sniffed at—it implies administrative mastery if nothing else—there is perhaps just as much to admire in the successful juxtaposition of two artists not generally associated with one another, or even with a particular approach or sensibility. Two current Chelsea exhibitions make a convincing case for the satisfactions of such pairings.
Frieze New York 2012
Over the past year, a remarkable number of exhibitions at contemporary art galleries have paired new art with fin-de-siècle French painting. Among them were Algus Greenspon’s wonderfully eccentric hang of Odilon Redon and Dan Colen, Julia Margaret Cameron and Kai Altoff in “Invitation to the Voyage” last fall, Andrew Kreps’s smart take on Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard in January’s “Interiors,” the kitschy, Playboy-sponsored “Giverny” by E.V. Day and Kembra Pfahler at the Hole, and “À Rebours,” the Symbolist-macho premiere of Observer contributor Adam Lindemann’s new Venus on Manhattan gallery.
Up until the announcement last spring that London’s Frieze Art Fair would be coming to New York for the first time, there were maybe five main reasons for a person to be on Randall’s Island: You are a high school student on an organized sports team—probably lacrosse or track or, perhaps, soccer—and you are utilizing the island’s athletic fields for practice; you have tickets to Electric Zoo or Cirque du Soleil; you like golf, but you do not want to leave the city to play it; you are a patient at the Manhattan Psychiatric Center on the adjoining Wards Island; you are John McEnroe, it is 2010 and you are inaugurating the John McEnroe Tennis Academy at the Sportime Randall’s Island Tennis Center.
The sculptor Frank Benson is now represented by Chelsea’s Andrew Kreps Gallery, according to the gallery’s director Liz Mulholland. The artist formerly showed at Taxter & Spengemann, the Chelsea gallery that closed at the end of 2011.