Chelsea Galleries in Colorful Spring Bloom, Jorge Pardo, Friedrich Kunath, Onnasch Collection and Other Must See Shows
Don't miss these essential exhibitions at ZieherSmith, Hauser & Wirth, and elsewhere.
There’s no time like the present to stroll Chelsea, the New York gallery district which right now promises various delights. Artnet News sent its staff out to look at art and report back on their favorite Chelsea shows. Hurry on over to check them out, because most close soon. Here are five of our favorites.
In her first solo show with the gallery, Silva delights the senses with a series of large and mid-sized paintings that have the kaleidoscopic palette of psychedelic art– color, basically, and lots of it. The perfectly controlled lines and patterns are gently pleasing to the eyes and if you look closely you’ll discover traces of the uncanny cityscapes of Giorgio de Chirico. The pictures show off an impressive technical range, too, the artist mixing areas of thickly layered impasto with silky-smooth swaths of spray-gunned gradients. Her colors pop with intensity evoking old-time candy and those early Saturday morning cartoons, but the unstable conflagration of forms and textures in her compositions lends them a disconcerting or ominous edge.This is clearly a promising practitioner of painting. Her experiments in ceramics will be showcased next month in a group show at ZieherSmith.
Three essential elements can be found throughout Richard Kalina’s tenth show at Lennon, Weinberg, Inc.: circles, grids, and bright jewel tones. In the artist’s larger works, brightly colored circles connected by precisely angled lines are placed at regular intervals upon a carefully measured grid. The backdrop is a subtle collage of squares of white paper layered atop light brown linen. Kalina’s pleasing variations on this systematic theme introduce colored borders, cut-outs, and concentric circles in different colors. In the smaller pieces, the grid becomes less precise, rendered freehand on a sheet of paper, and the angled lines between the circles disappear altogether. In some instances, the circles’ cheerful watercolors fade to white in the center. By playing with his three key elements, Kalina has created a visually striking, rigorously organized array of work that is both abstract and accessible.
In the Cuban-born artist’s eighth exhibition with the gallery, viewers are once again treated to Pardo’s intricate and colorful sculptural installations that reflect, as usual, his honed talent for design and crafty knack of making alluring if ambiguous things out of everyday domestic objects and materials such as tiles, textiles and lamps. My favorite group of works in this exhibition combine wire and fluorescent lights layered with plastic beaded curtain-like arrangements that together cascade to the floor. Also on view is a cluster of twenty-five squat colored glass desk lamps, with bulb and shade, hanging from the ceiling at different heights. Untitled, the work is playful, magical and even meditative.
The show’s centerpiece is a large, stand-alone structure made of steel, Plexiglas, and ornately carved wood that houses a small room with a bed and washroom. It is described as “an architectural intervention” in the gallery literature, one that is “intentionally ambiguous” as to whether it is a functional residence or a temporary refuge from the outside world. It is an appropriate metaphor for the exhibition as a whole.
Onnasch Collection at Hauser & Wirth Chelsea, through April 12.
Believe the hype. This blissful show of ten rooms filled with nearly 60 not-for-sale works from the collection of Reinhard Onnasch, a pioneering German dealer who first opened a New York gallery on Spring Street in 1973, is really special. The show was first exhibited at the gallery’s London gallery in fall of 2013 and now comes to New York for the enjoyment of art fans here. It traces the history of the art scene in New York from 1950 to 1970, opening with Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman, and Robert Motherwell. Successive rooms show seminal works by Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jim Dine. Claes Oldenburg is featured prominently in this exhibition, with several important sculptures here including a giant electrical plug made of painted Plywood and Masonite, which hangs from the ceiling, as well as his shiny black Inverted Q, and several soft sculptures including Soft Medicine Cabinet. Ed Kienholz’s works, particularly The Future as an Afterthought—an ominous assemblage of naked dolls bound to the top of a wood pedestal—are terrific and may come as a revelation to some viewers unfamiliar with his work. Kurt Schwitters, a huge installation by Hanne Darboven is also a standout. She is the only female artist in the show.
Friedrich Kunath has orchestrated an experience that oscillates between the contemplative and the delightfully strange for his fourth show at Andrea Rosen. Good news is that he often manages to nail both simultaneously in his works. What appears upon first inspection to be a carefree world of colors and fruit-bedecked cat scratching posts eventually settles down visually to reveal a quieter, more melancholy undercurrent. Cosmic Clowning (2013) is a large canvas of yellow and gray showing Narcissus, as painted by Caravaggio, staring at his reflection. The catch is that a ridiculous cartoon turtle has been superimposed upon his face. Even the most somber of art lovers has to chuckle. A painting of a beautiful sunset with the words “Fuck It, I Love You” scrawled across the sky tugs at a more raw emotional chord. Are we being played with, manipulated? Possibly yes but its fun.
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