Month: April 2015

The Drawing Center: Contemporary and Historical Art in SoHO

Facade_Home_MAIN1Located at the southern end of SoHo, The Drawing Center is a non-profit gallery/museum devoted to the medium of drawing — both historical and contemporary.  Since its founding in 1977, The Drawing Center has spotlighted drawing connected with science, literature, architecture and political movements. There are also lectures, gallery talks, family workshops and literary programs that enhance the exhibitions. Like the Chelsea galleries, The Drawing Center gives you an opportunity to see the work from both new artists and older masters in an intimate setting.

There are two very different shows on view at The Drawing Center right now — both worth visiting. In the main gallery is “Portraits from the École des Beaux-Arts Paris.” The exhibition explores four hundred years of portrait drawings, emphasizing work from live models. Forty portraits have been chosen from the Beaux-Arts de Paris’ collection based on “diverse criteria such as the male and female gestures, caricature, frontal gaze, social class, and profession of the model.” The portraits range from seventeenth-century to the present and include never-before-exhibited drawings by nineteenth-century artists Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Charles Garnier to the work of modern and contemporary artists like Henri Matisse and Georg Baselitz.

In the lower level gallery is a completely different kind of drawing exhibit – “Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm.”  Frank, a 35-year-old, contemporary artist, has brought to life the “unsanitized” versions of the fairy tales of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Using bold colors in gouache and pastel, Frank focuses on the dynamics between flesh and spirit. According to the artist, she is exploring, “the parallel poles of longing and desire but also disgust and fascination that constitute humanity.”  From afar, the scenes are both alluring and grotesque. Up close, you can appreciate the richness in detail and will be drawn in by the energy emanating from the colors.

Both shows will be on view through June 28th.

A Curious Blindness: Artists Responding To Race and Identity Politics

a curious blindness, at Columbia University’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, brings together the work of eighteen early- to mid-career artists. The thematic focus is their interpretations  of how people of color are treated and represented in today’s world.  The title of the exhibition,  “a curious blindness,” comes  from the poem, People, by Jean Toomer, a writer from the Harlem Renaissance who struggled with his mixed-race heritage.

One of the first pieces you see when entering the gallery is a giant “whitening” tube next to a small video screen. This is the work of Baltimore artist Nora Howell. In her performance and installation she created a “public intervention that animates her sculptures while drawing attention to her own relationship to whiteness as well as inciting a conversation about whitening as a social contract,” according to the exhibition catalog.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two large galleries and three smaller rooms are populated with videos,  performance art, photography, collage,  paintings and sculpture. The pieces are as different as the artists who created them but are all thought-provoking and engaging.

The exhibit is the the third presentation of MODA Curates. This is an annual opportunity offered by The Wallach Art Gallery and the MA in Modern Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies Program (MODA) for outstanding curatorial proposals related to students’ theses. a curious blindness is curated by Vivian Chui, Tara Kuruvilla, and Doris Zhao and will be on view until June 13.

Thomas Nozkowski: Colorful and Intimate Abstract Art


Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled (9-32), oil on linen panel

Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled (9-32), oil on linen panel

I was recently struck by a Matisse-like painting used to promote a new exhibition at the The Pace Gallery. It turned out to be by American born Thomas Nozkowski. Since the 1970’s, Nozkowski has produced abstract paintings and drawings in which he experiments with a form, color, or gesture, and then reworks it repeatedly over time. My response to Nozokowski’s painting was well-founded. In a recent interview with Artspace, Nozkowski commented:

“There’s a painting in this show with some Matissean curvy shapes painted in a Matisse blue—that’s not an accident, it was a decision to draw upon that blue for that particular move.”

More than 60 paintings and drawings, most of them created in the last year, are on view at the gallery. One of the interesting aspects of Nozkowski’s art is the fact that he works on 16 x 20 inch canvases. In his Artspace interview he explained why he chose that size:

“…I decided I would paint at a size that was scaled to my friends’ apartments, that could hang in a three-room walkup tenement on 7thStreet. …Once I made that decision I discovered how easy it was to put an idea in the world, look at it, and then wipe it off and do something else if it’s no good. Suddenly, I could go through hundreds of ideas in the life of a painting. When I did large paintings like I did in art school, it could take days to change a color.”

Installation View, "Thomas Nozkowski" Pace Gallery

Installation View, “Thomas Nozkowski” Pace Gallery

The exhibit will be on view through April 25th. If you are going down to Chelsea, be sure to also see:

“Alice Neel Drawings and Watercolors 1927-1978 at David Zwirner, 537 West 20th Street, on view through 4/18.

In the Studio: Paintings” at Gagosian, 522 West 21st, on view through  4/18.

Roz Chast: Drawings, Textiles and Dyed Eggs

Roz Chast Library Cover, published Oct. 18, 2010 watercolor and ink on paper 10 x 8 inches

Roz Chast
Library Cover, published Oct. 18, 2010
watercolor and ink on paper
10 x 8 inches

If you read the  New Yorker then you know the wit and wisdom of Roz Chast’s wonderful cartoons.  Something More Pleasant, at the Danese/Corey Gallery, gives you an opportunity to see Chast’s work up close, and appreciate them not only for their humor but also for their artistry.

The exhibition is a mix of Chast’s cartoons and New Yorker covers, as well as textiles and pysanka (dyed eggs) created with the same humor and flair.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The show will be on view through April 18th. And, if you are a fan of Roz Chast, you can see more of her work at the Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge, MA) this summer.