(image taken from Re-Nest)
The other weekend, the filmmaker and I drove into Chelsea to enjoy the beaming autumn sun, the coolly sultry wind from the river, and the plethora of intimate galleries that abound, austere and opulent, to indulge in a myriad of art collections. One of the first galleries we entered featured a large book igloo, a precarious curved stack of books constructed with a geometric and design perspective. More refined in both concept and execution, the structure nonetheless reminded me a bit of forts, wooden tipis near a stream by the home of our grandparents , built by myself and my younger brother, when we were young and full of spit and whim. Unfortunately, the name of the artist escapes me.
(image taken from Civil Clothing)
Above the first gallery, a Keith Haring exhibit had recently opened; in addition to featuring a variety of his illustrations, the gallery had a tiny corner boutique of merchandise, mostly clothing and a beautiful collection of shoes from Nicholas Kirkwood. The designer borrowed the iconic, memic images, replicating them across a number of heels, boots, and loafers. Though the lines and figures seem almost rudimentary in nature, harking to the earliest cave drawings of buffalo and hunting spears by our hominid ancestors, Haring's work actually has quite a thematic complexity. The pieces we were fortunate to see were wrought with a pathetic humor, as humans cowered from the tyranny of invading spacecrafts, assuming masturbatory poses, and with a lamentation, this primal response their only option at the threat of annihilation.
(image taken from Every Day Workshop)
The Grey Paintings by Agnes Martin are simultaneously overwhelmingly silent and brimming with a subversive and awful force. Walking about the large gallery space, staring into each one, it reminded me of a steel cable cord, pulled taut by something larger and stronger than human hands, so that the wire subtly vibrates and oscillates with the tension.
(image taken from Simplistic Art)
Freedom from Want by Aaron Johnson also imbued a humor, albeit one that was far more visually and conceptually grotesque than that portrayed by Haring; merciless, not to the power of external evil beings, but to the suffocating and unquenchable violence of our own commercial greed and desires. His paintings were bombastically intricate, indeed, nearly impossible to absorb in a sitting, composed of so many characters and scenes within a vortex of color and patterns. Elusive, seemingly three-dimensional, he layered his paints in such a fashion that provided an illusion of depth, giving an even greater perception of physical space in which the color and patterns and bizarre, wanton, disgusting beasts could bombard the senses. Although, as the filmmaker and I had discussed briefly, I completely understand that the art industry, like any other, contains a range of characters and rules, comprising an intricate system that ultimately, for some, not necessarily the artist, must and will generate a lot of money. Still, I found a notable irony in this subject matter and this thematic, in a gallery in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in one of the wealthiest cities in the world, where the attending patrons, myself included, donned designer clothing, handbags, accessories.
The main raison d'être for our gallery excursion was to see the Richard Serra sculpture at the Gagosian Gallery; immediately upon entering the space, I was struck dumb, simply amazed, wonderment. Trying to imagine and surmise how these structures were transported and organized into this space is nearly impossible; a pyramid mystery. I am sure some brief research on the internet could fill in the suspended details, but I would rather remain uncertain, my imagination permitted to meander.
After having visited the paintstick illustration meets installation exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art a few months back, coupled with the sublimely opulent Alexander McQueen exhibit, I was very anxious and excited to see the black lines, curved and calculated, in real steel. Traversing the solemn labyrinth between walls of orange, light blocked, an obtuse catacomb, the path would then open to a wide space, where one could soak in the terrain of the sculpture.
The filmmaker shot a quick video with his Android while we explored; it looked incredible.