Transom

Art History According to George Clooney

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“What a great combination: killing Nazis and saving art,” said the artist Tom Sachs. “It’s kind of like my day job—my dream day job.”

Mr. Sachs was talking to The Observer about The Monuments Men, the new Hollywood film celebrating the unlikely band of art historians, conservators, curators and others that rescued Nazi-looted artwork toward the end of World War II. It’s not every day a mainstream movie revolves around, or even mentions, art, and the city’s cultural mavens are more or less on board. Read More

The Upper East Side

Moving on Up: The Avant-Garde Returns to the Upper East Side

(Illustration by Breet Alfrunti)

It’s possible that the Upper East Side changed the night last September when the fire department broke up the disco party at 980 Madison. The building houses, among other businesses, a luxury spa and Gagosian Gallery. Soon it will have a Gagosian-owned “neighborhood restaurant,” as Larry Gagosian described it in a recent interview with Peter Brant. There will be chili. And waffles.

On the third floor of 980 Madison is Venus Over Manhattan, an art space opened last year by Adam Lindemann, a contributor to this paper and the disco party’s host. The crowd had gathered to celebrate a show by the artist Peter Coffin. Young women carried trays of tequila shots. Around 8 p.m., the festivities moved down the hall to a room dimly lit with red lights. From the street, you could hear DJ Harvey playing records. Professional roller skaters skated around on glowing LED wheels. A cluster of young men and women nonchalantly smoked near the entrance.

When the fire trucks came, part of the crowd decamped across Madison Avenue to Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle, where a pianist played selections from the Great American Songbook and the martinis cost $21. Read More

Openings

Preview Wes Lang’s ‘Here Comes Sunshine,’ at Half Gallery

9 Photos

(Courtesy the artist and Half Gallery)

If you visit the artist Wes Lang at his studio, we’ve heard, you might get “sucked into the porn hole.” He’s apparently got a lot of porn magazines lying around. The artist said so himself in a Vice video from a few years back. Thursday night, the artist has a new show, “Here Comes Sunshine,” opening at Half Gallery, Bill Powers’s enterprise on the Lower East Side, at which the artist will unveil 10 new works, including drawings and paintings using color pencil, airbrush and automotive paint on steel. Of the work we’ve seen in the show, it seems Mr. Lang is still kind of loitering in the porn hole. And his work still takes its cues from “tattoo flash” and other Americana—the artist’s own body is covered in tattoos. Yet, while Mr. Lang’s work has been known to push the envelope—he got booted from a group show at Deitch Projects in 2007 for including works that had images of African-American stereotypes—his latest work seems pretty tame. Read More

Restaurants

Want Fries With That Bruce High Quality Foundation? A Hip New Downtown Restaurant Dishes Up Art

From left: Houmard, Neidich and Schindler. (Photos courtesy of Patrick McMullan)

Quality restaurant art is nothing new, especially in New York. When it opened in the late ’50s, the Four Seasons Restaurant, in the iconic Seagrams Building, had art by Picasso, Miró and Jackson Pollock on the walls. (The dining room was meant to get a series by Mark Rothko, but he pulled out of the project, and the paintings now hang in three museums.) The food/art nexus may have culminated with the freewheeling 1970s, when Gordon Matta-Clark had his restaurant, Food, in Soho—compared with that, most restaurant offerings seem pretty staid. These days, you can go to Casa Lever, in the architecturally groovy Lever House, and gaze at myriad Warhol prints of celebrities—Hitchcock, Sly Stallone—while you’re eating your $52 “Costata” T-bone steak. And if you’re looking for something a bit more classical, there’s always Maxfield Parrish’s monumental mural, Old King Cole, which hangs elegantly above the bar in the St. Regis Hotel. But a new joint set to open by the end of the year is bringing New York restaurant art to a whole new level of downtown hipness. Read More

Work of Art

‘Work of Art’ Recap, Episode 7: Rubbernecking

China Chow and Simon de Pury on "Work of Art." (Courtesy Bravo)

The art world is in Miami. The Sucklord has been booted from the rarefied realm of reality television and is lurking somewhere, probably in Miami. So what do we have left, here at home, to be thankful for? Why, the fact that the search for the next great artist continues for us on the Bravo cable television channel, of course. On Wednesday night, there were seven contestants left in the art-critical arena, and yes, they were challenged, as all artists have been since time immemorial, with the task of creating art to please car-manufacturing television sponsors. Read More

shows

Terry Richardson Introduces Us to His Parents

Richard Prince, Terry Richardson, James Frey (Photo courtesy Terry's Diary)

The line for the Terry Richardson show “MOM DAD” at Half Gallery on Friday was a clamoring, clustering thing, attractive people waving and desperate to squeeze into a space that, true to its name, isn’t very big. It was a bit like the opening of a nightclub, with everyone trying to be aloof and desperate at the same time, though there was very little order to it. Half Gallery owner Bill Powers came to the front from time to time and poked his pink sunglasses glasses around the door frame to point to people who were cool (e.g. “James!”—James Frey, of course). Read More