Tuesday, September 18, 2007

WOW What a Gallery Day

So as I have several days off in a row from my internship I decided to take the opportunity to go down to Chelsea today and see what their galleries had to offer and may I say I was not at all disappointed. The one show that I simply had to see, being a fan of pop surrealism, graffiti, and street art, was Storm Clouds, a solo show with new works by Jeff Soto at the Johnathan LeVine Gallery. I have been keeping an eye on this artists since I saw his debut in Juxtapoz magazine a few years ago. This is his second major show at the Johnathan Levine Gallery. The work is mostly acrylic on panel or canvas and deals with politically charged themes such as the war in Iraq and our degenerating environment. He presents this material through playful creatures half organic and half machine in a surreal environment where clouds become ominous villains and rainbows become a symbol of hope. The highlight of this exhibition, for me at least, was a giant wall installation mixing wooden cutouts and paintings done directly on the wall. The image appears to be the United States being consumed by a noxious animated cloud formation engulfing almost 75% of the country with pollution and destruction. As the viewer I almost felt claustrophobic as I was devoured by the sheer size of this piece. Storm Clouds was everything I hoped it would be and more.

As I walked past the Pavel Zoubok Gallery I almost embarrassed myself with pure ecstasy as I peered in the windows and noticed they were showing Aaron Noble in a solo show titled Rainbow 6 Warsong. Holly Crap I said to myself and hurried in. I first saw Aaron Noble in the magazine Beautiful Decay and they were doing an article on his enormous wall paintings. He has an intriguing style where he clips out pieces of superheroes from old comic books, an arm here a pony tail there, and then recontextualizes them into amorphous abstract forms keeping with the comic book coloring and inking. To my surprise he also does smaller watercolor versions of these behemoth paintings. I was like a kid in a candy store only with no budget that would allow me to purchase a piece, the cheapest one they had was $5000.00. His line quality and attention to detail is astounding along with his convex canvases. What a pleasure it was to actually behold these images first hand.

One of the first galleries I visited after the Johnathine Levine Gallery was the Bitforms Gallery and man oh man this must have been my lucky day because right there in the gallery were three of Daniel Rozin's electronic video capture pieces in a show called Fabrication. If you have never seen this guy look him up and try and find a video because you can't really get the full ambiance of his pieces if you don't. Basically his pieces are video capture based, what I mean by this is there is a camera strategically placed in his piece and when you step in front of the piece whatever he is using, anything from dowlrods with the ends cut at a 45 degree angle to laminated c prints mounted on wood, will realign to form your image and where ever you move it follows you and changes to fit your new position. I must have spent 30 min or more in this gallery just playing with his pieces.

I must say I visited almost 40 galleries today and that's not even half of them. I will elaborate on other galleries such as the Paula Cooper Gallery which had an amazing Sol Lewitt installation and the Johnathan Levine Gallery who also featured Jim Houser, at later dates it's just to much for one blog. If I could give a day out of all the days I have left up here to my fellow class mates believe me I would because it has been a real eye opener. Hope this finds everyone well and until next time................


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hello once again from the big apple

It's been a few days since we last spoke and I would like to take this opportunity to update you on all that has happened in the past few days. I'll start with my internship which is amazing. For those of you who don't know I, am interning with Pierogi gallery, located just inside Brooklyn off of Bedford St. If you haven't heard of them I encourage you to go to their website www.pierogi2000.com, they represent some amazing artists, most of whom have been featured in Artforum and Art in America. Anyway I started work this past Friday and immediately they had me entering artist information into their flat files database. This is a massive database with over 2000 artists represented. I must interject some advice for all aspiring artists; it might be a good idea to put the title and date on the back of each piece that gets into a gallery that has flat files because it can be a pain to match up a title with a work only using dimensions or visible characteristics that are given away in the title such as untitled (blue) or untitled (red).
I'm only supposed to work six hours, but their featured artist, Jim Torok, was doing a performance of low tech animation that evening and I volunteered to stay and help out. The animations were extremely hilarious b/c they depicted alot of his characters in scenarios of extreme violence. Jim called them low tech because they were shown on a slide projector. He explained that he did several hundred drawings on note cards and then photographed each one and then developed them as slides, so depending on how fast he advanced the slides the animation would unfold rather dramatically.
Jim's work is satirical mainly in regards to politics and life but through his daily experiences. His current show, Jim Torok: New Work, features his childlike comic strips depicting his everyday life along with his hyper-realistic small scale graphite portrait work. When viewing the show for the first time I had no clue that they were the same artist until Justin, one of the main gallery employees, advised me that they were indeed all done by Jim.
Currently, my main job at the gallery is recording and photo-documenting all the work in the flat files. This is an exciting experience because I have to go through each flat file and pick three works that are representative of the artist record them in an excel document and then photo-document the work. It's nice to know the trust me with such a task.
Today I explored NYC trying to find the nearest Home Depot and art supply stores. Just in case you were wondering they are all they way down on 23rd st and between 6th and 7th avenue I think. The Utrecht store is on 23rd st as well and is located between 8th and 7th I think and then their is DaVinci's Artist Supply on 21st between 6th and 7th. I still have yet to visit Pearl Paint but I've heard wonderful things about this 5 story art supply mecca. Surprisingly they are extremely cheap up here on supplies, case in point: I use alot of exacto blades and a pack of 100 in Savannah would cost me close to $40.00 at Utrecht they only cost me $12.99 WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW. I will definitely stock up on supplies while I am here. Paint is fairly inexpensive up here as well.
On a complete side note. I was on the subway yesterday coming home from work and saw the most amazing thing I have seen here outside of the numerous galleries I have visited. I will expand on the galleries later this week after I visit a few more. I was on the L getting close to the A train transfer and 3 gentlemen commanded the attention of the car. The fella upfront announced who they were and then his colleague cranked up an old school boom-box. The three of them proceeded to perform the most astounding break-dance show I think I have ever witnessed. They had a space no bigger than 6ftx6ft and they were doing back-flips and one armed helicopters, and handstands where they were lockin out on their necks pushin back up and lockin out on their necks again, mind you the subway was still moving. It was amazing. On that note I will let you guys go for now. Hope all is well where ever you might be. Next time I will expound on my gallery visits and what I have found as far as reviews in Chelsea Now and The Village Voice. Until then.................