On View

‘Re-View: Onnasch Collection’ at Hauser & Wirth

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It’s fashionable these days to bash mega galleries for supporting empty, overwrought spectacles, and while those empty, overwrought spectacles are a problem, I still shudder to think of a world without the megas. Buoyed by vast fortunes and competing with their elite brethren for the same few billionaire clients, they now regularly assemble shows rich with treasures, no expense spared, that the public gets to visit, free of charge. Hauser & Wirth’s display of works from the collection of Reinhard Onnasch, a German-born dealer who ran a New York gallery in the 1970s, is the latest of these museum-quality shows. Organized by former Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles chief curator and current Hauser & Wirth partner Paul Schimmel, it arrives on our shores after a stop at the gallery’s London branches. Read More

artists

The Paradox of Martin Creed: The Artist on His Biggest Gallery Exhibition Ever

Martin Creed at Tate Britain in Nov. 2011.

Lanky Martin Creed was standing on the first floor of Hauser & Wirth gallery on the Upper East Side, dressed in lightly paint-splattered, black pants that rose up just above the ankles and an ever-so-slightly mismatched navy shirt, his frizzy gray hair pulled into a ponytail and his face covered by glasses so large they looked like protective eyewear. He was laughing enormously about—something. With apologies to our brothers and sisters across the pond, his giggles were punctuated with bursts of indecipherable Scottish twang, made all the more difficult to discern by the presence of his parents, making use of their own heavy slurs. This was somehow appropriate, though, because “what is he trying to say” is a frequent starting point for the uninitiated in conversations about Mr. Creed.

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On View

‘Sensitive Geometries: Brazil 1950s–1980s’ at Hauser & Wirth

'Mira Schendel — Untitled,' 1955. (Courtesy Hauser & Wirth)

As Brazil’s economy strengthens dramatically, its contemporary art is gaining international attention, and galleries are rushing to open there. The cannily timed “Sensitive Geometries” provides a lively, much-needed primer to the country’s recent artistic past. Organized with private dealer Olivier Renaud-Clement, it brings together 54 works by a dozen Brazilian artists who worked predominantly Read More

human resources

Hauser & Wirth Takes on Mira Schendel Estate

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The estate of the late Swiss-born, São Paolo-based artist Mira Schendel will be represented worldwide by Hauser & Wirth, the gallery announced early this morning. A number of Schendel’s elegant and restrained works on paper are currently on view at the gallery’s Upper East Side location, part of the “Sensitive Gometries. Brazil 1950s-1980s” exhibition.  Read More

Look at This!

Look at This! Matthew Day Jackson at Hauser & Wirth

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Installation view.

Much has been made of the big gallery, big art phenomenon recently, and Matthew Day Jackson, who is opening Hauser & Wirth’s season tonight with an exhibition of new work in its enormous 18th Street space, is an obvious lightning rod. Of course for Mr. Jackson, the gallery’s 24,700 square feet don’t feel all that overwhelming. The multimedia artist has a concurrent show at ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art, a former munitions factory in Karlsruhe, Germany, that he told The Observer would probably stretch from 10th Avenue all the way over to Eighth, if it was here in New York.  Read More

The West Coast

Hello, Babylon! The Art World Is Cheating on New York With Los Angeles

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When my plane broke through the Los Angeles smog on an afternoon in early spring, I imagined I had willed the town into existence by nothing more than my arrival. It’s the city’s foundational myth—perpetually born yesterday. I was there to cover an art fair called Paris Photo, which was being held at that most mythic of L.A. landmarks—Paramount Studios—and to report on the city’s art world. If New York had a say in the matter, it was something of an accident of history that there were ever artists in Los Angeles at all. The dealers and collectors were always in New York. And who could force the entertainment industry to care? For decades, the most noteworthy thing about successful Los Angeles artists—aside from a core group—was that they left for the East Coast.

The reality is more complicated. New York changed. Downtown ceased being a squatter’s free-for-all and became an outdoor shopping center. The S&M clubs and taxi garages of Chelsea gave way to galleries stacked on top of one another. Increasingly, the creatively minded transplants who migrated each day to New York from all over the country came with expiration dates. Ten years would go by, if you were lucky, before the inevitable fatigue set in. So many migrants have gone to California as a solution to some problem that it’s become an American trope. But in a town where the front page of the largest daily newspaper reports the unsubstantiated rumor that industry blogger Nikki Finke would be fired from Deadline Hollywood, the arts have quietly carved out a home. New York just got more and more expensive. Read More

artists

Paul’s Uncanny Valley

TKTKTK. (Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth)

An hour before Paul McCarthy’s “Life Cast” exhibition opened last week at Hauser & Wirth’s Upper East Side townhouse, actress Elyse Poppers, a brunette in a blue dress, stood surrounded by three unnervingly realistic replicas of herself in the nude. Each painstakingly hand-painted silicone cast is so lifelike that, she said, “people who come from outside think that they’re real before they get all the way in. Delivery guys especially are really freaked out.” Read More

human resources

Paul Schimmel in Talks to Join Hauser & Wirth in Los Angeles

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Gallerist has learned from several independent sources that Paul Schimmel, former chief curator of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, is in late negotiations to join Hauser & Wirth gallery, which, according to sources, plans to open a branch in Los Angeles.

The gallery did not respond to a request for comment, and Mr. Schimmel has not yet returned a request for comment.

Paul Schimmel and the museum parted ways last summer. His departure brought wide criticism of the already embattled museum, which has been led by director Jeffrey Deitch since June 2010, and occasioned the departure of all four artist trustees. Since Mr. Schimmel left the museum, rumors have circulated in the art world as to where he would go, and there has been talk that several top-level galleries were interested in hiring him. Sources close to Mr. Schimmel have said that he preferred to stay in L.A. He has since been working as a co-director of the Mike Kelley Foundation. Read More

artists

The Id Stays in the Picture: Rita Ackermann Has Gone Abstract But Hasn’t Lost Her Edge

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“I like a sudden appearance, when you look down on the marble bathroom floor, or in wood, and you see a face in it and it is always a different face,” the artist Rita Ackermann said last week. She was standing inside Hauser & Wirth’s Upper East Side gallery, where her latest show just went on view.

A few years ago, Ms. Ackermann, 44, had that uncanny, Rorschach-like experience while she was working in her studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. She mopped up some paint with a poster and discovered a strange, curvy figure. Since then she’s painted it on many of her canvases, in rich shades of blue or red, and sometimes both. She calls the series “Fire by Days,” a play on a line from a poem by the French modernist Roger Gilbert-Lecomte. Read More

On View

‘Dieter Roth. Björn Roth’ at Hauser & Wirth

Zuckerturm (Sugar Tower), 1994. (Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth)

You will first meet Dieter Roth—who is posthumously inaugurating Hauser & Wirth’s massive new gallery on 18th Street with the help and through the agency of his son and collaborator Björn (and Björn’s sons Oddur and Einar)—as a pottering old man, reading, drawing, shitting, showering, eating sandwiches and drinking coffee in the 128 video screens of his 1997-1998 Solo Scenes. Recorded in Mr. Roth’s studios in Germany, Switzerland and Iceland in the year before he died, running in overlapping loops divided by blue screens or black-and-white static, and accompanied by a murmur of clattering dishes and crumpled paper such as you might hear from the kitchen of a large, well-run restaurant, the scenes create a powerfully charismatic illusion of self-revelation. But notice the way that Mr. Roth, when he’s done reading, pulls off a precise length of toilet paper and carefully folds it double, and double again: what makes the work so compelling is the artist’s control, the tremendous sense of process that doesn’t so much imbue the seedy detritus of an incarnate and sensual life with significance as it simply sweeps it all forward, like a mass of glistening turf on a heavy steel cowcatcher. Read More