Jaspar Johns/Barry Frydlender: Two Exhibits Worth Seeing

There are two exhibits I saw recently that are worth going to before they close. Though they both are inspired by photography, the art is as different as night and day.

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The first is a Jaspar Johns show at MOMA called “Regrets,” (until September 1, 2014).  The exhibit is comprised of two paintings, 10 drawings, and two prints. They were created over the last year and a half and were inspired by an old photograph of the artist Lucian Freud, reproduced in an auction catalog.  According to the exhibit notes, Johns was inspired not only by this scene but also by the damaged appearance of the photograph itself. The title and signature inscribed on most of the works— “Regrets/Jasper Johns”— suggest a sense of sadness or disappointment. Johns borrowed the words from a rubber stamp he had made several years ago to decline the many requests and invitations that came his way. It’s not a large exhibit but the creativity, interpretations and varied media make it a very exciting exhibit to see.

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A very different exhibit, that is all photography, can be found at the Andrea Meislin Gallery in Chelsea. It is Barry Frydlender’s “Yaffo-Tel Aviv.” A native Israeli, Barry Frydlender is known for his large works that “seamlessly stitch together hundreds of photographs in a mosaic-like pattern to create large and extremely sharp color prints.”

The exhibit at the Andrea Meislin Gallery consists of 8 large-scale color photographs, taken between 1998-2014, of the view reflected from Frydlender’s studio window. Through these photographs Frydlender tells a story of a changing urban environment impacted by both natural events, like heavy rainstorms; and current events, like an army raid searching for terrorists.

The Frydlender exhibit will be there only until June 21st.

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