The invitation was cryptic, asking only that guests RSVP and consent to be filmed, but it was obvious, walking into Pace’s easternmost gallery on West 25th Street on Wednesday afternoon, that everyone knew what they were getting into: a music video shoot for Jay-Z’s art-reference-heavy “Picasso Baby,” the second track off his new album Magna Carta…Holy Grail. (His art advisor, Jeanne Greenberg-Rohatyn, got the location through Pace’s Andrea Glimcher.)
The first broadcast of CNN was on June 1, 1980—a little over a year after Brian Lamb and John D. Evans started the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network—and it began with David Walker and his co-anchor (and wife) Lois Hart. It was a pretty slow news day. The lead story was President Jimmy Carter’s trip to Fort Wayne, Ind., for a “brief visit” with civil rights leader Vernon Jordan, who was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. They also covered the launch of the CNN network, replaying footage from a press conference given by Ted Turner. He thanked the cable industry, “whose pioneering spirit caused this great step forward in communication.” From then on, America would be inundated by a constant flow of information, all presented by a stern, brow-furrowed newscaster as breaking and important.
It was then, during the rise of the 24-hour news cycle, that the husband-and-wife artist duo Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz—known collectively as Kienholz—created The Ozymandias Parade, which is currently making a rare appearance in New York at the Pace Gallery on West 25th Street. The exhibition was supposed to coincide with the week leading up to the election, but Hurricane Sandy set it back, and it didn’t open until the day after President Obama’s re-election, another event that fed copy to the cable news programs.
Look at This!
Back in the early 1970s Robert Irwin built what he called “the third-largest optical instrument in the world,” a 33-foot-tall column of clear acrylic that was to be barely perceptible to the eye when it was properly installed and polished. Unfortunately, that never actually happened. The collector who commissioned it died before it was finished, and a subsequent installation—in a mall—was handled rather clumsily. It eventually went into storage. (The Los Angeles Times told that story back in 1993.)
On a gray morning early last week, the artist Robert Irwin sat at one end of the cavernous Pace gallery in Chelsea and gazed out at his latest exhibition. The only things in it are three thin, 16-foot-tall transparent acrylic columns that, under certain lighting conditions, disappear. The opening reception was set for the following evening, and he was trying to figure out how the room would look when it was dark out. Every few minutes, his iPhone rang—a Pace employee on the roof, blacking out skylights.
“These things sit on a delicate edge,” Mr. Irwin said. “When it was bright in here, it was pretty yellow, and they get blown out. These things hardly existed at all. Is that good, or is it bad?” Pause. “I don’t know.” He sounded intrigued, rather than worried.
The Pace Gallery confirmed today that it has secured a two-floor, 9,000-square-foot space in London at the Royal Academy’s 6 Burlington Gardens building, ending years of speculation about its plans in the capital city, which is becoming an increasingly crowded art hub. Architect Sir David Chipperfield, who is handling a major renovation of the entire Academy that is set to be completed by 2018, will design the space. The new Pace branch will open in October, right before the Frieze Art Fair, with a two-person show of painter Mark Rothko and photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto.
If we ever send out another Voyager probe, and we need a new image that offers up the full range of human experience, with its chaotic complexity of outward expression, its discreet harmonies and its subtle inward pathos plastered directly onto absurdity, an image that can convey to alien eyes the existential truth that we make our own truths here, but don’t quite make them freely, we ought to use Building the Boat While Sailing, the centerpiece of painter Dana Schutz’s show at Friedrich Petzel Gallery.
Is Pace Gallery moving in on Gagosian’s longstanding representation of mid-century painter Arshile Gorky’s work? In the news release for its upcoming “Mythology” show, which includes the artist’s work, Pace says that it “is honored to work with the Arshile Gorky family on this exhibition.”
WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 8
Tour: ArtWalk Chelsea: David Zwirner, Gagosian and Gladstone
The American Federation for the Arts takes visitors on a tour of three exhibitions of three very different artists in Chelsea–Doug Wheeler, Damien Hirst and Shirin Neshat. –Michael H. Miller
Meet at David Zwirner, 519 West 19th Street, New York, 4–6 p.m., $25 for AFA members, $35 for non-members.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9
Opening: “Happenings” at the Pace Gallery
Over 300 photographs document performance pieces from the movement, featuring work by Jim Dine, Simone Forti, Red Grooms, Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg, Lucas Samaras, Carolee Schneemann, and Robert Whitman. Sounds like a stellar tribute to a too-short movement, and you never know, someone may stage a be-in right at the opening. –Dan Duray
The Pace Gallery, 534 West 25th Street, New York, 6-8 p.m.
“This is a man who never stopped laughing, who always spoke in riddles, who identified with the joker, and is always actively engaging us with that perplexity, the idea of paradox in paintings,” biographer Justin Spring proclaimed of artist Roberto Matta at Pace Gallery’s West 25th Street branch last week. He added, “This is a starting point, rather than a definitive moment for Matta.”
Los Angeles artist Sterling Ruby, who first showed with Pace Gallery about two years ago and had been positioned in some press coverage as something of a cornerstone of its contemporary program, is no longer with the gallery.