TUESDAY, JULY 15
Screening: Gilbert & George at Lehmann Maupin
As part of its current Gilbert and George film and video survey, Lehmann Maupin will host a screening of The World of Gilbert and George and Gilbert & George: The Singing Sculpture. Double trouble! (In more ways than one.) —Andrew Russeth
Current market darling Thomas Houseago has parted ways with his New York dealer Michael Werner gallery, which represented the artist starting in 2010.
Michael Werner Director Gordon VeneKlasen confirmed that the break happened about a year ago, writing in a short e-mail, “I’d rather talk about the artists I do work with rather than comment Read More
The Art Newspaper reports that this spring Gagosian Gallery will publish a catalogue that lists every Damien Hirst spot painting.
The Upper East Side
More than two dozen canvases from the 1950s, the decade that made Helen Frankenthaler the iconic Color Field pioneer, have been gathered on 21st Street. It’s the first such show in New York since 1960. Most of them are stain paintings, alternately brilliant and facile, titanic and slightly nauseous. Some, like 1953’s Open Wall, a landscape-format metaphysical unfolding of the concept of division in blues and browns, are cool and philosophical, while others, like Trojan Gates or Holocaust, both 1955, are hot and anxious. All of them are—not because of the chromatic effect of garish colors clanging like bells and then fading into unsized, off-white canvas, but because of their compositional organization—like flowers: the elements always grow from the center, even if you can’t quite tell exactly where that center is. But the show’s real jewels come from before the explosion: 1950’s Painted on 21st Street, borrowed from the Smithsonian, and three 1951 canvases, The Jugglers, The Sightseers and one untitled, all borrowed from Ms. Frankenthaler’s estate.
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.
Yesterday, the Academy announced its nominations for the Oscars. Exciting news for the world of pop culture, less so perhaps for the art world, which is generally more curious about shows of a different kind—those that will be opening in Los Angeles’s galleries on Oscars weekend.
Amidst talk of artists leaving the Gagosian Gallery, news of any artists who show with Gagosian doing exhibitions elsewhere is likely to be closely scrutinized, and potentially misunderstood. Gallerist can reveal that, while Richard Serra, a longtime Gagosian artist, will have an exhibition of historical work at David Zwirner gallery in the spring, the artist’s relationship with Gagosian remains unchanged, and, in fact, he is planning a major exhibition of new sculpture for next fall at Gagosian’s two Chelsea locations.
The exhibition of historical sculptures will take place in Zwirner’s new West 20th Street gallery. According to John Silberman, Mr. Serra’s longtime attorney, Mr. Zwirner approached Mr. Serra about the exhibition, and the artist was enthusiastic about it.
The paintings in Bob Dylan’s first exhibition at Gagosian Gallery, on view last fall, showed scenes of everyday life throughout Asia that the artist purportedly witnessed “first-hand,” according to press materials, during breaks from his touring schedule. The exhibition caused a bit of an uproar—by art-world standards, anyway—when viewers got wise to several paintings’ spot-on resemblance to iconic photographs by the likes of Leon Busy and Henri Cartier-Bresson. To say that Mr. Dylan has reappropriated the work of others in his music is a vast understatement—it’s more like the music’s reason for being, and Mr. Dylan’s primary stylistic trait. As just one example, take “Duquesne Whistle,” the opening song from his 35th album, Tempest, released earlier this year. In it, he takes elements of the melody, chorus and structure of a 1929 Memphis Jug Band song, “K.C. Moan,” and also toys with its lyrics. “I thought I heard that K.C. when she blow/She blow like my woman’s on board,” goes the original. Compare that with Mr. Dylan’s “Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing/Blowing like my woman’s on board.” Then this line is slowly rewritten in a repeating structure over several verses before becoming unrecognizable as a traditional folk song in the penultimate couplet: “The lights of my native land are glowing/I wonder if they’ll know me next time around.” But whatever mastery Mr. Dylan has achieved as an editor of musical traditions, from prewar blues to Mexican ballads, it couldn’t really help his Asian paintings. The line is thin between appropriation and plundering, and even if he didn’t cross it, the work seemed pretty phoned-in.
It’s auction time again in New York—between this week and last, around a billion dollars of modern and contemporary art is on offer at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips de Pury & Co.—and so it’s tempting to start griping about money’s corrupting influence on culture. But another option is to revel in the sheer number of top-quality artworks on view around the city. The auctions themselves bring out pieces that have been hidden away for years, and in many galleries, particularly those on the Upper East Side, dealers put on museum-style exhibitions, readying themselves for the heavy-hitter international collectors who fly in from around the world. Three shows on view right now comprise a happy art-historical coincidence: all of them are devoted to artists (Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly and Richard Serra, respectively) who helped forge the look and feel of postwar art in America while showing at the Leo Castelli Gallery in the 1960s and ‘70s.
Earlier today David Baum, a lawyer representing plaintiff Jan Cowles in her ongoing lawsuit against Larry Gagosian and his gallery, filed papers that seek to unearth Mr. Gagosian’s financial records and includes Mr. Gagosian’s complete deposition in the case, which took place a few weeks ago. It offers a fascinating look at the dealer’s business model. In it, Mr. Gagosian describes Gagosian Gallery director Deborah McLeod’s now infamous solicitation for a “cruel and offensive” offer from collector Thompson Dean for a 1964 Roy Lichtenstein work as amusing, though he wishes it hadn’t been in writing. You’ll find the entire deposition at the end of this post.