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October 2, 2006

{     New York Art World 2006 Fall Season Openers of Note.     }

With 300 or so galleries now vying for viewer consideration in New York's mean art streets it's getting harder and harder to parse the chaff from the wheat. Nevertheless I trod the 10 or so blocks of territory in search of aesthetic gratification. To my surprise there was quite a lot of good work. Here's what stood out:

Barnaby Furnas Marianne Boesky Gallery

First of all, Marianne has entered the 24th St. gymnasium sized gallery space league with Barbara Gladstone, Matthew Marks, Larry Gagosian, Metro Pictures, Mary Boone, etc. in high style. Her new building is lavish and beautiful. Good use of Murakami sales money and Daddy's accountants Marianne.

As far as Barnaby's work goes, it's better than ever. When he fails, he fails messily but his trademark, fragmented figures in a cacophony of bullets and facets are there in spades. Jesus looms heavily as a subject this time.

Most amazing though are the monumental new canvases in the main gallery. Massive washes of red on sky blue evoke the supernatural splendor of Exodus's best story in life sized sublimity. They put other contemporary wash painters like Pat Steir to shame while refreshing the relevance of Frankenthaler and Olitski's color field explorations with a pop saavy not acceptable in their Greenbergian heyday. If Rothko were still alive he'd kill himself now.

Jesse Bercowetz and Matt Bua "Thing Got Legs" Derek Eller Gallery

Remember the introduction to Idiot Box, that Alex Winter's comedy show that appeared on MTV in the early nineties? How about the introduction to "Freaked" Alex Winter's movie where Mr. T played a beared lady and Keanu Reeves plays a dog boy? This work reminds me of the aesthetic world both habitated.

Mike Geary "Brainbow" PH Gallery

Wacko cartoon paintings ala Peter Saul and early Christian Schumann.

Amy Morken "Backwards Diving" Claire OIiver Gallery

Naughty girls are fucking with your head. It's colorful and ouchie.

Nicola Lopez "Overgrowth" Caren Golden Fine Art

This show is a handsome exploration of the links between nature and technology. The work sprawls and creeps all over the nooks and cranny's of the gallery like VHS tape if it were art school kudzu pythons.

Augusto Arbizo "Rorschachs" Roebling Hall

Augusto shows a modest number of striking Rorschachs painted with vivid color in Roebling Hall's second new space in Chelsea.

Brian Calvin Anton Kern Gallery

Odd, elongated portraits of women call to mind Alex Katz as much as Seventies Teen fashion mags in a flatfooted stab at Dana Schutz.

Vik Muniz "Pictures of Junk" Sikkema, Jenkins and Co.

Muniz continues his use of photography to capture representations of things made of different materials. Instead of photographing Warholesque halftone icons in chocolate or black ink this time he uses junk to recreate classical paintings. Cranach the Elder's "Apollo and Diana", Goya's Saturn Devouring one of his Sons among others are represented in car parts, empty spackle buckets, rusty pieces of metal and assorted junkyard debris. A time-lapsed video shows their assembly.

Sandy Winters George Adams Gallery

In the Drawing Gallery Winters shows paintings of what would have happened if Geppeto had been on mushrooms and decided to make a series of locomotive fish tank time machines instead of Pinocchio.

Albert Oehlen Luhring Augustine

Oehlen continues to make abstraction dreadful and current. These owe as much to Francis Bacon, and Willem De Kooning as they do any painter Jose Friere likes.

Matthew Ritchie "The Universal Adversary" Andrea Rosen Gallery

Ritchie continues to use the allness of all, personified information systems, and contemporary scientific thought to make sweet sweetness. Breathe it in folks: This is what intelligence and beauty smell like in 2006.

Celeste Boursier-Mougenot "harmonichaos" Paula Cooper Gallery

13 vacuum cleaners with harmonicas and modified guitar tuners attached sit in the dark connected by an electric switch that turns them on and off at random. The resultant sound art is as Steven Hawkings as it is Tim Hawkinson.

Frank Magnotta Cohan and Leslie

Big, grotesque, portrait drawings reminiscent of Basil Wolverton and George Condo. They have some high minded political import according to the press release but I don't buy it. Their bold weirdness and tight seriality carries them.

Amy Myers "The Particle Zoo" Mike Weiss Gallery

Despite being the wickedest dick of them all, Mike Weiss has actually put up a show worth a shit. Myers mystical abstractions fuse Matta's sense of shape and dark magic with a jewelescent ornamentality, at once galactic and feminine.

Nicholas Di Genova "Death From Below: The Upper Layers of the Hades Geofront." Fredricks and Freiser

This is my favorite show in Chelsea right now. Di Genova's gnarly little ink on mylar works are better than anything currently featured in the pages of Juxtapoz yet dominantly espouse all "underground" art virtues on the mainstreet of the contemporary art world. Overlook this and you'll miss some serious, illustrative freshness you Fecal faced Juxtapozers.

Jessica Stockholder Mitchell, Innes, and Nash

I hated her when she was my teacher at SVA because she was a reptilian dominatrix whose evil Yale formalist dogma cracked on my back every time she entered my studio. And Mitchell, Innes and Nash is a gallery I most commonly referred to as Itchy, Penis and Rash because the staff's persnicketry plagued my days as an art handling trucker. But despite 9 years (and counting) of art world baggage, I still walk away from Stockholder's work impressed by the genius of her formal play with household materials. This show is no exception.

Taylor McKimens "The Drips" Clementine Gallery

If you were a woodcut print of Roger Rabbit this show would make you shit and puke all over yourself. The $8 comic available at the reception desk would be your dirty toilet paper.

Gerald Davis "1986" John Connelly Presents

Heather Myers used to squeeze my balls after smoking pot with my sister in the basement but Chris Hughes and me tied her legs up and tripped her while she screamed at us. Ha! Ha! Fuck you Heather Myers. Childhoods be fucked.

Doze Green and Andrew Schoultz "The Left Hand Path" and "Cataclysmic Mayhem" (respectively) Jonathan Levine Gallery

Doze's new work shows a wild variety of styles whose influences vary from the Latin American abstract surrealist tradition to his hip-hop upbringing. Works that display his trademark graffiti figuration and automatist play with paint weave political commentary into mature and wise painterly cornrows. Andrew Schoultz shows large and small work whose woodcut aesthetic meditates on a dream like Trojan horse story rendered one brick, wood plank and cloud billow at a time.

Sarah Oppenheimer 554-5251 PPOW Gallery

Sarah has destroyed 2 walls in the space and inserted 2 huge inverted tube structures. It's clean, sharp, utterly disruptive and the most exciting thing PPOW has done in years.

(Not in Chelsea but in need of mentioning. )

Joe Coleman Jack Tilton Gallery

Lowbrow king gets his day in the highbrow sunshine. Kilgore Trout would be proud.

Master's of American Comics The Jewish Museum

Original drawing boards from The Fantastic Four by Jack Kirby, Early mock ups by Harvey Kurtzman of the first Mad covers, Will Eisner's The Spirit strips, a whole display case of Robert Crumb's pencil sketchbooks pre-Fritz the Cat and a totally awesome room of Gary Panter and Chris Ware originals highlight this show.

In the back of the floor is a mini-show called "Super Heroes" where you can see the first character sketches of Captain America, The Joker and Superman. The drawings of Superman riding a rocket and one of him arm in arm with WW2 soldiers (also silkscreened 7 feet high on the wall) serve as indicators of the homoeroticism underlying the superhero mythos.

Despite Art Speigelman's refusal to be ghettoized by being shown only in The Jewish Museum this show is a powerful reminder of why most of us push graphite and paint around in the first place. If your work is at all illustrative you have to see this show. It's history man.

Art World: I hate you less than usual. Don't fuck it up.

     » Art Borg HQ


Thank you.
I know you have less and less time for C12, but getting this down is vital, and with every post, you elevate this whole endeavor.

Posted by: Adam at September 23, 2006 1:54 AM

Thanks Bro. I think we all agree that quality is better than quantity.

Posted by: Aaron at September 23, 2006 6:32 AM

agreed. thank you aaron, for covering this and for such an again well-written, informative, and still entertaining piece. proud to have you here dude.

Posted by: shane at September 23, 2006 6:24 PM

Thanks guys. I appreciate it.

Posted by: Aaron at September 23, 2006 7:05 PM
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