On View

‘Sarah Charlesworth: Objects of Desire: 1983-1988’ at Maccarone

'Goat,' 1985. (Courtesy the artist and Maccarone)

In the mid-1980s, the late Sarah Charlesworth scoured found print sources for images of statuary, clothing, amulets, bowls, tigers, columns, giant bronze Buddhas, and other slippery bundles of half-conscious mental urges; cut them out; rephotographed them against rich monochrome backgrounds; and printed them as a series called Objects of Desire. Despite the typological organization, these icons are resolutely non-systematic—like pagan gods in smoky niches dense with double meanings and contradictions. Each one is obscured by the cloud of its formal epithets and ambiguous variant names. Read More

On View

‘Eugene von Bruenchenhein: Bits from First World’ at Maccarone

'Untitled, November 18, 1978' (1978) by  von Bruenchenhein. (Courtesy  the Estate of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Fleisher/Ollman and Maccarone)

Eugene von Bruenchenhein sparkles like the light of natural reason. This gorgeously punctuated and interwoven show includes the late Milwaukee obsessive’s psychedelically messianic oil paintings of glass towers and aquatic jungle flora; his black-and-white photos of his wife, Marie, as muse, maid, pinup, friend and model, and St. Sebastian; and the devastating vases, built up in extraordinary, barbarous precision from handpinched leafy petals of clay he dug up himself that he fired in his stove at home. Five slender red steeples, in Steel-Imperial City, June 1978, flick up into a cloudy blue sky like Chinese yo-yos or astral Empire States out of a mound of snaky lower structures in yellow, green and blue. The windowless peaks, which the artist shaped and marked directly with his fingers, shimmer with scaly surfaces that are alternately transparent and opaque. Sitting on dark fabric against a white wall in Untitled (Marie seated on floor, ruffled stockings, pearls, wonderful shadow), with straight bangs, wavy hair framing her face and the pearls draped across her shoulders like a pagan breastplate, von Bruenchenhein’s muse looks up and to the right, innocent, strange and hopeful. In Untitled (Marie with lace top and black bow tie, one arm awkward on lap, hair up), boxed in tightly but with her candidly perfect composition hard to make out against a bold floral-print background, she looks directly into the camera. But in the former, because she averts her eyes, we can feel as if we’re participating in the playful exchange; in the latter, her loving gaze pushes the viewer out of the marital intimacy even as it reveals it. The vases, gourd-shaped, with pinched necks and flaring mouths, occasionally closed but more often a kind of patched open work (they could only hold dried flowers), and usually left a natural brown but sometimes painted coppery green or a flaky, fragile gold, create a tantalizing sense of fuzzy exactitude, like a delicate grid being implied, not shown. Read More

On View

‘Carol Bove: RA, or Why Is an Orange Like a Bell?’ at Maccarone

Installation view. (Photo by Jeffrey Sturges, courtesy Maccarone)

Carol Bove stops short. A systematic thought process can knit itself together into a stable, static pattern, like Harry Smith’s Design for Qor Corporation, an acrylic on cardboard cruciform Celtic knot; distend outward in an infinite loop, like much of the beautifully geometrical, dangerously mystical ephemera produced in mid-century by Mr. Smith, his friends Lionel and Joanne Ziprin, and assorted Kabbalists, and curated into a small parallel exhibition by Ms. Bove and Philip Smith; or collapse and dissolve like ocean foam. But in I-beam Sculpture, the first piece meeting the viewer in “RA, or Why is an orange like a bell?” Ms. Bove arrests the process at the last possible moment of suggestive ambiguity. Eight purplish lengths of I-beam faintly marked with scaly orange rust are bolted together into an inconclusive intersection. Two shorter sections are fastened together lengthwise, parallel to the floor, with symmetrical cutouts at either end. Facing the door is a cross-shaped gap; on the far side, pointing to the large pane of glass, framed between two more I-beams and two of the gallery’s columns, on which Mr. Smith’s painting is mounted, is a cross. Read More

On View

‘Alex Hubbard: Magical Ramón and The Five Bar Blues’ at Maccarone

'Siegfrid’s' (2013) by Alex Hubbard. (Courtesy the artist and Maccarone)

The hints of melancholia and breezy bathos that have long made Alex Hubbard’s work so interesting are strongly present in his newest pieces, called “one-person portable drinking bars.” These five Kienholz-worthy stalls are each about the size of two phone booths and stocked with alcohol, complete with a working beer tap. You can saddle up to the bar with its lone chair, pour a drink and enjoy it while staring at yourself in a mirror. It’s playful and humorous—until it gets lonely. Whatever Mr. Hubbard means to get at with these boîtes—the inherently solitary nature of looking at art?—this show, his sophomore outing at Maccarone, has him bringing his typically inventive, light touch to a variety of mediums, and continuing to eschew a signature style, a refreshing stance in a city that all but demands its artists adopt a recognizable brand. Read More

Real Estate

Maccarone Will Expand Into Dry Cleaner Next Door

The windows of Maccarone during the 2011 exhibition "After Shelley Duvall '72," curated by Bjarne Melgaard. (Courtesy The Observer)

Come September, the West Village’s Maccarone gallery, located at 630 Greenwich, will become a bit larger. Carol Vogel reports in The New York Times that proprietress Michele Maccarone has acquired the lease for the dry cleaner next door, Slate NYC (its slogan is “permission to get dirty,” which could apply to not a few of the gallery’s artists). The gallery will unveil the new space in September with a show by artist Rodney McMillian. Read More

Art

‘After Shelley Duvall': Bjarne Melgaard on Curating at Maccarone

5 Photos

After Shelley Duvall '72 (Frogs on the Highline) at Maccarone.

Take just one moment and visit stabfrenzy.com, a website run by the Norwegian painter Bjarne Melgaard on which he documents some of his work.

We just did and, clicking through the pages at random, saw a photograph of Mr. Melgaard shirtless, cradling two small dogs, as well as dozens of installation views of his shows at galleries around the world. There are scores of his paintings too, which look like they were produced by a manic, enraged neo-expressionist. There are bulbous cartoon figures and photorealistic images of elderly people and a child soldier. There are neon works too: “THE WORLD IS FULL OF RICH CORRUPTED CUNTS,” one reads.

“The idea of Stab Frenzy was showing how much was produced,” Mr. Melgaard told us. “I feel in New York people are very careful. I prefer to make 500 paintings here. You’re not supposed to do that because you can’t really auction results.” He speaks quickly and calmy, with a thin Scandinavian accent that sounds somehow German. “Sometimes I feel like making five and sometimes I feel like making 5,000.” Read More