534 W 24th in Chelsea recently welcomed the works of Assaf Evron, an Israeli photographer, to its quiet streets. The solo show, entitled The Sea Was Smooth, Perfectly Mirroring the Sky, directly parallels the personality of its location: the pieces are soft and subdued, at first distant and then upon closer look, welcoming and even inviting discovery.
The main event is a series of photographs taken with an infrared camera that examine an Xbox’s projection of light beams onto various objects. However, the context and the background of this grouping– a triptych– remains second to the enigmatic beauty of the works themselves. These works are sprinkled with star-like shapes of a lavender color that create misty shadows when covering the geometric forms that are front and center in the works. The exploratory process is endless, with the result of the time spent studying the pieces being a feeling that one is immersed in a transcendental galaxy beyond one’s imagination. It just helps that the images themselves are covered in reflective glass that enables one to really feel situated within the pieces. And what could be better than having a tangible as well as the obvious emotional connection to an artwork? Oh yeah and perfect for a selfie.
Sculpture in the Age of Donatello, the new exhibit of never-to-be-shown-in-the-U.S.-again Renaissance masterpieces, now at the Museum of Biblical Art near Columbus Circle [Editor’s Note: MOBIA is defunct as of 2016], would probably have been better if it were about sculpture in the age of Donatella– i.e. the 80s. Yes, the works by Donatello and his contemporaries, made especially for the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore or Florence Cathedral, are beautifully crafted and enticing. But at the same time, the reason to go to the exhibit is not for the wondrous quality of the sculptures displayed, but for the opportunity. The chance to see pieces that have never left, and will never again leave, their place in Florence is once-in-a-lifetime. It doesn’t matter that maybe Donatello hasn’t achieved the same level of life from within his sculptures (they don’t yet seem to breathe) as say, Bernini, because the pieces are lovely just the same. Lovely, meaning that they’re nice to look at, but not meaning that they are in any way more compelling than the next thing. As with all art, their power is subjective. Go and see if Donatello speaks to you. Bonus: check out the film next door that gives you an inside tour of the Cathedral the sculptures call home.
Hate boring museums where all you do is wander from gallery to gallery in search of something that speaks to you or catches your eye? Sick of Van Gogh and Rembrandt, done with Léger and Miro?
I’m not. But in case any of you mentally said yes (at your private disclosure) to these questions, then I have an answer for you whenever your grandmother, parent, or pal feels the need to haul you off to some New York art institution for a day of culture: suggest visiting the Cooper Hewitt. Fresh (and, despite it’s location off Fifth, Park Avenue-style relaxed looking; think oxygen peel masquerading as a trip to St. Barth’s) from a facelift that took up a good chunk of the past decade, the Smithsonian CH Design Museum is back and better than ever. Inside the wood paneled mansion are multiple galleries and exhibitions filled with funky new technology and interactive features that let you craft anything from tables, lamps, and chairs to hats and wallpaper in a wide array of materials as long as you wait long enough for your turn at the smart-tables situated throughout the building. (more…)
I think the title of this post accurately describes my experience at the Affordable Art Fair on W. 18th street a few Sundays ago, but since I’d actually like to give you a more comprehensive picture, I’ll expand on the title a little. Let’s start with the self-explanatory name of the fair, designed to sell affordable (think in the hundreds and thousands, not millions) but semi-okay works such as prints, paintings, photographs, and sculptures to the general population. And the wonderful thing is, people were actually buying. I walked in with my friend around 4 o’clock, and the fair, which closed at five, was not only packed but overflowing with patrons on long lines to pay for their purchases.
Wondering what could ever be the cons I alluded to? Well I suppose it was what people were buying, not the fact that they were. The fair played host to a slew of galleries, most of them especially well-known, and most of whom had these eye-catching, tacky pieces on display that to me seemed hollow and vapid. It was art of the new social order, the digital media world, works to snap pics with because they match your outfit or snap up because you think it will go with your hipster furniture. But in the heat of the moment, I got swept up in the fun too, laughing at emoji busts and cheery skull and flowers posters derivative of Murakami. Everything at the fair was indubitably derivative of something, so although affordable can mean groundbreaking, here that proved not to be the case. While the time I spent wandering from gallery space to gallery space was enjoyable, in retrospect it was utterly meaningless. Do I actually remember any of what I saw because I considered it valuable?
I’m not sure yet if this lack of depth points to an issue with the art at the show or a general absence of substance in mainstream art when anything can be called art. This is obviously a very bold claim to be making, so I’d like to call it a guess for now, and another guess I’m going to take is that maybe there’s some kind of beauty in the futility of the show; maybe it’s simply there to be a distraction from real life. Having an authentic connection to a piece of artwork before buying it? Now totally optional.
Want to weigh in? Comment your thoughts.
I know I haven’t written in a while, but now I’m back and better than ever. Before I begin posting about some of my latest adventures, I’d like to share that RISE, the student-run Creative Arts magazine at Ramaz that I co-founded with a friend (see our first edition here), has really taken off and we launched the second installment a couple of weeks ago, entitled Whisper: the White Issue! In this version you’ll find a fabulous photoshoot, some wonderful art-centric articles, an interview of an Italian transfer student, beautiful wintry photography and poetry, and a whole lot more. Comment below if you are interested in prints.