Art in New York City: The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Chelsea Arts District
I recently returned from a quick 2-day trip to New York City. The first day was primarily focused on a new movie I am working on (currently looking for investors for the film) called “Dan & Carla.” We had a spectacular table reading of the script with the actors along with a number of friends and interested parties of the film. After the reading, I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Jack Pierson, a longtime family friend of the film’s director. Jack Pierson is an incredible artist who works with a variety of different mediums, including sculpture, photography, video, and is best known for his word signage installations. His artwork is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, just to name a few. (See below for more about his two incredible pieces that were on view at the Whitney Museum.)
Here’s some information about the film for those interested: It is a modern-day romantic comedy about two young NYC lovebirds who try to salvage their troubled relationship: Dan & Carla, two lovers from opposite sides of the subway tracks, are forced to confront the issues of romance, commitment, betrayal and sexual (dis)orientation.”
For more information:
There is SO MUCH ART in New York City! There were three pieces of public art that I had the pleasure of seeing on this trip. Here is a photo of Robert Indiana’s HOPE Sculpture located on the corner of 7th Avenue and 53rd Street. A couple months ago, I wrote in my blog about Robert Indian’s LOVE Sculpture in Scottsdale, Arizona. This HOPE Sculpture is also only a few short blocks away from the LOVE Sculpture in New York City 55th and Avenue of the Americas/6th Ave. I’ve learned that each year on the artist’s birthday, September 13, Robert Indiana HOPE sculptures will be installed and displayed in locations throughout the world. The HOPE sculptures celebrate the message of hope and fulfill the artist’s vision of a more promising future for us all.
Another public sculpture, located just outside of Penn Station and Madison Square Garden (7th Avenue and 33rd St.) is Roy Lichtenstein’s “Brushstroke Group.”
And the last public art sculpture that I got to see was Elmgreen & Dragset’s “Van Gogh’s Ear” located in Rockefeller Center. It’s basically a huge swimming pool stood upright. I really liked how misplaced it looked, especially in such a dense area, with a huge amount of foot-traffic, in contrast to a large swimming pool, typically seen in a less congested area. This is a temporary installation, so be sure to see it before June 3rd!
I started the second day of my trip at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The new Whitney’s architecture is spectacular inside and out. And the artwork within the walls of the Whitney is very special.
On the Sixth and Seventh Floors of the museum, I experienced the exhibit, "Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney's Collection." It made me rethink my own internal definition of the word "Portrait." The exhibit demonstrated the way portraiture has changed from the early 1900s to present day. When you think about it, the whole concept of portraiture has changed over time. The painting of portraits was once reserved for the elite, and those who could afford such a luxury, yet with the rise of photography, everything has changed. With the iPhone and other smartphones and with the influence of social media, the "selfie" is almost a new form of portraiture. Whatever the form, portraits get to the very essence of who we are as people and our place in the world.
Chuck Close, is very well known for his huge, floor to ceiling, portraits best viewed first from afar, and then up close (excuse the pun). This is his work titled "Lyle" and I've included a few views for you to see the genius behind his artwork.
And Jack Pierson, who I had the pleasure of meeting the night before, had two of his many works that are part of the Whitney's permanent collection, on display. One a self-portrait, "Self Portrait #4", 2003, and the other called, "Jerry in the Dressing Room", 1993.
I also saw some impressive works of art from some artists that I haven't been exposed to before. The painting shown here is one from the artist, Howard Kanovitz, called "New Yorkers 1". It's a very large painting and I found it to be very striking. I especially liked seeing the use of pencil within the painting as shown in this close-up photo.
There is a beautiful outdoor space with stairs leading to other levels and views of the surrounding cityscape and the new, NYC treasure, the High Line. If you plan to visit the Whitney Museum, you could also walk on the High Line either before or after what is sure to be an incredible art experience at the Whitney!
After the Whitney, I visited the Chelsea Market where I stumbled across a wonderful ID Pop Shop that featured apparel, accessories, Jewelry, and art. www.Idpopshop.com
I then proceeded on my quest to visit some of the Chelsea galleries that feature modern and contemporary art. Some galleries were focused on established artists and artists who are well-known to the general populace and others showcased emerging artists. I walked my feet off and ended up visiting about two dozen difference art galleries in Chelsea. I'll share some of my favorites here:
One of the galleries that I really enjoyed visiting in Chelsea was Jim Kempner Fine Art. http://jimkempnerfineart.com/ It was at this gallery that I was introduced to an artist named Greg Parker. His artwork features a unique process that results in an unbelievably cool work of art. He starts with a wood panel that is covered with up to 20 layers of polished gesso, thin layers of powdered pigment and graphite that is applied in progressive steps within mathematical systems. Kind of looks like metal or wood but the end result is a subdued reflective surface that is solid at nature.
At the Bryce Wolkowitz gallery, http://brycewolkowitz.com located at 505 W. 24th St., I saw a truly unique exhibit of multimedia sculptures and video installations from the artist, Yorgo Alexopoulos, I have learned that he films the 4K video, makes use of a translucent LCD video screens, robots, 3-D printers, motorized dollies, and multiple cameras simultaneously shooting time lapse photography. The piece that I found most compelling was one titled "First Time On The Moon,” which is comprised of the digital animation on a high definition translucent LCD display, aluminum and patina steel, glass, and custom electronics. The subject matter is the moon with the earth hovering in the distance in space.
The Berry Campbell Gallery www.berrycampbell.com presented the work of the artist Stanley Boxer, a Massachusetts born artist known for his thickly painted abstract works of art.
I visited the new Lisson Gallery at 504 W. 24th St. lissongallery.com It was a brand-new exhibit that opened just this past week, featuring the artwork of Carmen Herrera. I learned that she has been painting for almost 80 years in her Manhattan studio. She's perhaps the oldest living artist I've seen on my venture; she will celebrate her 101st birthday later this month and will be honored with a survey exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in September 2016. The exhibit at the Lisson Gallery represents a new body of work produced in the last two years. The paintings exhibited were primarily acrylic on large-scale canvases. They almost had an Ellsworth Kelly kind of feel to them, in terms of the colors used in a very minimalist way.
At 138 10th Ave., I visited Lori Bookstein Fine Art. www.loribooksteinfineart.com There were a few artists represented in this gallery exhibit, but one stuck out to me, an artist named Diana Horowitz. The exhibition featured a series of small paintings depicting the landscape of and around Lake Como, Italy. She painted on en plain air and each of the small 5" x 7" or smaller canvases had subdued tones and colors capturing the light across the landscapes.
One of the most unusual, yet fascinating exhibits that I saw was at the Lions Wier Gallery at 542 W. 24th St. www.lyonswiergallery.com The gallery featured the pop artist, Jae Yong Kim in the exhibit titled "Pop Goes The Donut". The walls of the gallery were lined with ceramic, glazed donuts, many featuring Swarovski crystals, gold, and other mixed media.
At the Cheim & Read Gallery, a brand new exhibit features the work of Spanish artist, Juan Uslé. Jack Pierson has shown his work at this gallery in the past. Many of the works were in excess of 9 feet in height. I learned that the short, broad brushstrokes comprising the bands in his paintings are based on the artist's pulse, similar to a cardiogram. www.cheimread.com
The Agora Gallery at 530 W. 25th St. focuses on emerging artists, and I recommend checking this gallery out for emerging talent! www.Agora-Gallery.com
The Rush Arts Gallery (Rush Philanthropic Foundation www.rushphilanthropic.org) at 520 W. 26th St. featured an exhibit called “Medium: Black.” The Rush Philanthropic Foundation is a non-profit founded in 1995 by media mogul Russell Simmons and his brothers and is committed to bettering the lives of under-served city youth through exposure to the arts and to provide professional support for emerging artists and curators. The group show featured artists that all use the color black. One of the pieces of artwork that I found most fascinating in this gallery was the work of Charlotte Becket who used a motor within the artwork, giving the artwork almost an organic or living feeling to it.
The Tagliatella Galleries featured some originals and prints from some of the more well-known contemporary artists like Alex Katz, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Mr. Brainwash, Bansky, Kaws, Damian Hirst, Keith Haring, Jeff Koons, etc. http://www.taglialatellagalleries.com/
Another well-known and established gallery, The Pace Gallery, featured David Hockney prints entitled, “The Yosemite Suite”. http://www.pacegallery.com/ The Robert Miller Gallery on 26th St featured the work of Lee Krasner. http://www.robertmillergallery.com/ And the Mitchell-Innes and Nash Gallery featured the incredible work of Tom Wesselmann. http://www.miandn.com/
Before heading back to Boston, my final stop was the Fashion Institute of Technology where I was able to see a wonderful exhibit on the history of denim. When you think about fashion, denim is one of the many materials out there that really stands out and has lasted for hundreds of years. Denim may even be the most popular fabric in the world today. The exhibit entitled: “Denim: Fashion’s Frontier” showed the evolution of denim. The exhibit takes you from the very earliest use of denim all the way to present day, highlighting the milestones denim has had impacting the fashion world. In its last days, this exhibit will be followed by an exhibit on May 20th, entitled “Uniformity,” which will explore the history behind a variety of uniforms (military, work, school, and sports), considering both their social role and their influence on high fashion. The Museum at FIT is located at 7th Avenue at 27th St. http://www.fitnyc.edu/museum/
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog and my reflections on the art I've seen. Please check out the websites of these galleries for more information and for current exhibition dates!
PS: If you liked this article, you might like these other articles on my artistic travels:
Los Angeles, California
New York City
New York City Street Art
Napa Valley, California
Park City, Utah
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