*This is the last of three writings exploring how New York City’s art scene is layered between structures of curatorial courage and interpersonal relationships. Opportunity coexists for the connected and the artists that endure. The ceiling breaks from above while cracks highlight brilliance from below.
Chelsea galleries are sprinkled into a convenient cluster for visual consumption. Floating through a maze brimming with art is like a dream. New York City is a barometer measuring and determining the direction of the art world. With each step, investment and prestige mirror an advantageous world. Freedom of creative expression must be inclusive and supported.
As usual, Lehmann Maupin Gallery delivers a commanding yet elegant curation in Mandy El-Sayegh’s solo exhibition. El-Syegh’s artworks lure with each line whispering the story of humanity. From the gallery’s website: “MUTATIONS IN BLUE, WHITE AND RED brings together examples from different series of works by El-Sayegh, which together form an artistic practice rooted in assemblage and the political, social, and economic complexities of humanity. Featured in the exhibition are a number of mixed-media paintings from El-Sayegh’s Net-Grid series, along with examples of her Windows series, which is comprised of intricate blue ink drawings executed on large-scale canvases…”
Asya Geisberg Gallery was transformed into a beautiful yet strange world of artist Lauren Clay’s Windows and Walls exhibition. Childhood memories flooded back but upon closer inspection a sophisticated environment emerges. Every pattern has meaning and intent. Clay’s world becomes our reality.
According to Asya Geisberg Gallery: “…Originating as white, tubular, and textured twists on the angular rigidity and slickness of Minimalism, Clay’s sculptures adopt pronounced references to space, architecture, and the body, and add high color and detailed curlicues. In tandem, her wallpaper acquires a double layer of illusionistic yet improbable spaces floating on a background of seemingly never-ending undulating stripes of color. The artist’s process translates a small collage of hand-marbled paper into an immersive floor-to-ceiling environment. Using traditional marbling techniques that evoke antique books, Clay’s psychedelic patterns leap from elegant old-world decoration to contemporary, digitally scanned, and aggressively scaled work.”
Line continues to dominate New York City. Highlights include master artists Mark Grotjahn at Gagosian and Ken Price at Matthew Marks Gallery. Grotjahn activates line spontaneously in the New Capri, Capri, Free Capri exhibit. While Price transcends line into three-dimensional from and space. Brilliantly, Grotjahn and Price employ vibrant color to extend gesture beyond surface.
Louise Bourgeois’ Spiral exhibit at Cheim & Read is a tour de force of an artist’s legacy. Each curve demands respect and investigation. Cheim & Read: “In materials as diverse as wood, steel, bronze, latex, marble, plaster, resin, hemp, lead, ink, pencil, crayon, woodcut, watercolor, and gouache, Bourgeois investigates every imaginable manifestation of the spiral, from graphic patterns to graphite whorls, wobbly orbits to chiseled vortices, twisted columns to coiling snakes, staircases, and pyramids. The cursive blue-paper word drawings, in English and French, complement the purely visual works by conveying the spirit of Bourgeois’ poetry in extraordinary pictorial forms.”
Artist XHélio Oiticica at Galerie Lelong articulates line and brilliance. The Spatial Relief and Drawings exhibition featured contemporary relevant artworks from the past. Galerie Lelong: “Oiticica was part of the Rio de Janeiro-based Grupo Frente, an artist collective led by Ivan Serpa from 1954–56. Members such as Oiticica, Lygia Clark, and Lygia Pape approached art through a rigorous commitment to experimentation and a rejection of traditional expressive means…”
Opportunity lured me back to New York City. No matter the location, art unites in a post-truth world. During my visit, it was clear that galleries provide a platform for the human experience. It’s where we gather and belong.