12 Must-See Gallery Shows on the Upper East Side During Auction Week
See some of our favorite shows right now.
Fall 2016 stands out for having a plethora of top-notch art exhibits—many of which focus solely on female artists—that is much needed, given the current mood after this election cycle.
As dealers, collectors, and auction houses are gearing up for a jam-packed auction week—sales of Impressionist, modern and contemporary art at the major auction houses have all been compressed into a single week—here are some must-see gallery shows to check out if you have some hours to spare between those inevitable bidding wars at Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips.
1. “Modern Masters: Between The Wars” at Hammer Galleries
Location: 32 East 67th Street
The show presents a curated group of masterworks by artists including Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Kees van Dongen, Max Ernst, Wassily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso that shows them responding to the horrors of war in the two decades between World Wars I and II. They were also a time of tremendous creative activity, as artists actively responded to and attempted to process the events as they unfolded.
2. “Calder and Picasso” at Almine Rech Gallery
Location: 39 East 78th Street
This marks the inauguration of the gallery’s New York space as well as being the first to explore the dialogue between these two modern masters. It was curated by the artist’s grandsons, Alexander S.C. Rower, and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, respectively. It features over 50 works, including paintings, sculpture, and works on paper, created between 1912 and 1967 that highlight their shared concerns. Many have only rarely been exhibited in public before.
3. “Picasso’s Picassos: A Selection from the Collection of Maya Ruiz-Picasso” at Gagosian Gallery
Location: 976 Madison Avenue
The exhibition was organized by the artist’s granddaughter, Diana Widmaier Picasso, who is the daughter of Maya Ruiz-Picasso. The works on view are drawn from four decades (1931–1971) and provide a personal view of the family history. Included are several portraits of Marie-Thérèse Walter, as well as a famous portrait of Maya as a child, Maya à la poupée et au cheval (1938); Le Baiser (1931), a kiss expressing both love and violence; and El bobo (1959), a portrait of a street urchin.
4. “Artists and Lovers” at Ordovas
Location: 9 East 77th Street
Peggy Guggenheim’s intimate world of artists, collectors and curators was the inspiration for “Artists and Lovers,” organized by gallerist and former Christie’s executive Pilar Ordovas. The show explores a number of the greatest artistic unions of the mid-20th century to suggest how love and friendship can shape creative process. Works on view include a a major Frida Kahlo self-portrait that has not been publicly shown in the US for over 30 years, and (Silver Square), painted by Jackson Pollock circa 1950, a work that was hung in his wife Lee Krasner’s New York apartment. Also on view are works by Elaine and Willem de Kooning; Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly and Jasper Johns; Merce Cunningham and John Cage, and Donald Judd and Lauretta Vinciarelli.
5. Joel Shapiro at Dominique Levy
Location: 909 Madison Avenue
This marks the first the first survey of early wood reliefs by Joel Shapiro, all of which were created between 1978 and 1980. They are displayed alongside a new site-specific installation. According to the gallery, the artist has worked with the idea of form collapsing since 2002; he views his work until this point as building up to this “moment of discovery that I can get the work off the floor and be more playful in the air.”
6. “Paths to the Absolute” at Di Donna Galleries
Location: 744 Madison Avenue
This is the opening reception for the inaugural show at Emmanuel Di Donna’s beautiful new space on Madison Avenue (he was previously in the Carlyle). The show traces developments in European and American abstract painting through skillfully curated side-by-side presentations of masters including Wassily Kandinsky, Kazemir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Clyfford Still.
The title pays tribute to art historian John Golding’s seminal book of the same name, in which he explored the social, political, and personal angles of abstraction, while also providing art historical context. Di Donna, who became familiar with Golding’s writing while pursuing a master’s degree at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, explains that “it has always been a dream of mine to see works by these artists together in a room, showing how the language of abstraction has many different, equally inspiring voices.”
7. “Salvatore Scarpitta: 1956–1964” at Luxembourg & Dayan
Location: 64 East 77th Street
The show brings together early works by the Italian-American artist whose extensive career spanned non-objective abstraction, radical realism, and car racing. It highlights a pivotal period of transformation, beginning with the artist’s forays into shaped and bandaged paintings, just before his 1958 return from Rome to the US, and wraps up with his move away from the canvas toward constructing race cars in 1964—which marked the culmination of his belief in movement as metaphor for life.
8. “Warhol, Wool, Guyton” at Nahmad Contemporary
Location: 980 Madison Avenue
The show features a selection of late abstract paintings by Andy Warhol alongside paintings by contemporary art stars Christopher Wool and Wade Guyton. It draws parallels between their expressive gestures and marks as well as their individual innovative printing processes.
9. Mike Kelley “Memory Ware” at Hauser & Wirth
Location: 32 East 69th Street
The artist first came across “memory ware” works in an antiques fair; the practice stems from black communities in the American South and in the UK, where folk artists have covered various objects with keepsakes. Kelley’s own works were created between 2000 and 2010 and are considered an important part of his oeuvre. The show features roughly two dozen of these works, on loan from museums and private collections.
10. Mike Kelley “Kandors” at Venus Over Manhattan
Location: 980 Madison Avenue
The “Kandors” represent yet another vital part of Kelley’s extensive output. The series takes its name from the capital city of the fictional planet Krypton, where Superman was born. According to the superhero’s legend, a villain shrank and bottled the city of Kandor in a bell jar-like container, just before Krypton’s explosive demise. Superman captures the miniature city and stores it safely in his secret hideaway, the Fortress of Solitude. The artist once said the scaled-down city “functions as a constant reminder of Superman’s past,” as well as “a metaphor for his alienated relationship to the planet he now occupies.” The show features four “Kandors” and related light boxes and projections.
11. “SPEED POWER TIME HEART: New Paintings by Elizabeth Peyton” at Gladstone 64
Location: 130 East 64th Street
This exhibition of eight new paintings by Peyton, all completed this year, employs the language of Gustave Flaubert as a point of departure. Peyton noted that the writer “came upon a way of writing that came from setting his two eyes on what was before him and trusting the coming together of his consciousness and the world in front of him.” It’s a show of delicately rendered portraits of subjects—in her signature style—pulled from the of the court of Louis XIV. A self-portrait and a lovingly-painted David Bowie in profile are also part of the mix. Another irresistible draw? The venue itself. Gladstone 64 is housed in a townhouse designed by Edward Durell Stone, one of the two architects of the original MoMA.
12. “No Rules, No Rules,” at Franklin Parrasch Gallery
Location: 53 East 64th Street
This well-received group show has just been extended through Thanksgivng from an originally scheduled close date of October 29. It explores the massive but largely hidden influence of late ceramic sculptor Peter Voulkos on the numerous artists he taught (and even some he didn’t, but who admired his practice). The two-dozen works by 14 artists that comprise this exhibition span a 60-year period and shed light on Voulkos’ energetic output. In addition to Voulkos himself, it includes work by: Robert Arneson; Lynda Benglis; Billy Al Bengston; Kathy Butterly; Cassie Griffin; Julia Haft-Candell; Mary Heilmann; Andrew Lord; Ron Nagle; Ken Price; Arlene Shechet; Josh Smith; G. William Webb; and Jesse Wine.
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